Lowcountry child cancer awareness advocates denied access to Washington, D.C. park

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCIV) — Hundreds of supporters of childhood cancer research — including children with cancer — were turned away from a Washington, D.C. park Saturday night just as they were supposed to gather for a candlelight vigil. Adam White, executive director of Chase After a Cure, was among the hundreds of child cancer research advocates in Washington, D.C. this past weekend in hopes of raising awareness and advocating for increased disease-related legislation. After meeting with lawmakers and their aides, the hundreds of advocates attempted to gather at Lafayette Park — but were turned away by members of the Secret Service. “One of the things we wanted to make go gold was the White House,” White said. “What better way to do it than to make it gold ourselves and stand as close as we can and have a candlelight vigil to honor all of those who have passed away or are currently being treated.” He said last year’s vigil was a success. “They got really close to the gates, they had a beautiful, moving song, they sang ‘Amazing Grace’ and they had a lot of moving tributes to the children who have been lost.” But this year was much different. “There was really little to no explanation,” he said. “There’s literally little kids in the park waiting to be a part of this and they had to go back to their hotels to get medication or just call it a night because it was getting late.” White said he’s not sure the reaction would have been different even if the communication was better. “It’s hard to say because the childhood cancer community are very vocal and the way they see it less than 4 percent of the federal cancer research budget is dedicated to childhood cancer,” White said. “So that’s unacceptable to us. So we always want to make sure childhood cancer is a priority. When something like that happens it really reflects bad because then it further shows we’re not a priority. I think that’s really the heart and soul of why people are resentful of being shut out of Lafayette Park.” The Secret Service later issued an apology. “The Secret Service would like to express its regret for not communicating more effectively with this group concerning the timeline for protected movements in the vicinity of Lafayette Park.” (Photo courtesy of WCIV)

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