Letters from the father of a girl diagnosed with a nervous system cancer helped urge Nebraska lawmakers to fund an effort fighting pediatric cancer in the state.
Mitch Ahlschwede began writing letters to Nebraska legislators in 2013 when his daughter, Leyna, was in treatment for neuroblastoma, the Omaha World-Herald reported . Leyna was 18 months old when she was diagnosed, and Ahlschwede recalled feeling frustrated and angry.
Ahlschwede’s letters spurred the Nebraska Legislature to approve $1.8 million to bolster pediatric cancer in the state. Lawmakers put more funding in the state’s budget a year later, designating money to hire pediatric brain cancer specialists to study the disease. Over four years, the state has committed about $7.2 million to the effort.
The state’s funding contribution also grew out of concern about statistics indicating an elevated incidence of pediatric cancer in Nebraska.