WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A little girl from Leesburg who got the attention of the President and Congress was honored today with a new federal funding act in her name.
President Obama signed the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act which redirects $125 million over ten years to research cures for childhood diseases. Gabriella died before seeing what she accomplished, but her legacy will help many others.
"That was tremendous. That's exactly what Gabriella wanted to do was to help children. So the fact that it was broader based than just cancer, would make her tremendously proud," said Ellyn Miller.
"I took the names into the Oval Office. Kids that have died from cancer. Kids that are fighting cancer. $126 million means an awful lot to them," said Mark Miller.
Gabriella died in October after an 11-month battle with one of the most deadly forms of brain cancer, but her powerful words live on in several riveting videos. You can see the videos here.
The act redirects money that was to be spent on political party conventions. The bill passed with bipartisan support.
"A little girl who knew what had happened to her all of a sudden became adult-like at age 9 and 10, and said, 'This is really important, American, listen.' And that's what we did. We listened. All of us were inspired, all of us on both houses, on both sides of the aisle. And now the President has joined us," said Rep. Eric Cantor, ( R ) Va-7.
"The virtue of this bill is not the ten years, but establishing that pediatric research, in itself, into cancer and other conditions, that affect our most vulnerable and our most precious, should get a priority and have focused attention," said Sen. Tim Kaine, (D) Va.
Gabriella's Mother read the letter her daughter wrote to the president, telling him about all the children struck with cancer and waiting for a cure. She asked him to light up the White house Gold, in September, for pediatric cancer month.
"Whereever she is right now, she's beaming from ear to ear," said Mark Miller.
The foundation they started to fund pediatric brain cancer research is called Smashing Walnuts and can be found at http://www.smashingwalnuts.org/