Senate-approved Wilk measure draws attention to rare pediatric cancer

Senator Scott Wilk of the 21st district.

The California Senate unanimously approved on Friday, a measure by Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, declaring May 17 Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) Day.

DIPG is a malignant brain tumor that affects the brain stem and is almost exclusively a pediatric disease with most children being diagnosed between the ages of five and nine. There is no one cure or therapy to effectively treat children with DIPG.

Agua Dulce resident Janet Demeter, who lost her three-year-old son Jack to DIPG, was in Sacramento to support this resolution.

Demeter is the founder of Jack’s Angels Foundation, a nonprofit corporation named after her son that has taken the lead in promoting research for this type of cancer. The foundation established the DIPG Research Fund at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) in 2013 to shed light on the nature of DIPG and to find potential treatments.

“Thank you to Senator Wilk for bringing this before the California Senate,” Demeter said. “As in the case of most pediatric cancers, research dollars are scarce. With the support of the California Legislature, we can raise awareness of DIPG and importance of funding research.”

As May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, it is a fitting time for the state Senate to call attention to the disease, Wilk said.

“Unlike other pediatric cancers, there is no cure for DIPG, so the diagnosis is heart wrenching for families and patients,” Wilk said. “By increasing awareness, we have the potential of finding successful treatment and eventually a cure.”

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