Senator Kunze joins Governor Kasich at the Ohio Statehouse for the ceremonial bill signing of her legislation, designating May 17th as DIPG Awareness Day.
COLUMBUS—State Senator Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) today joined Governor John Kasich for the ceremonial signing of her legislation designating May 17 as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) Awareness Day. Primarily affecting children, DIPG is extremely resistant to chemotherapy treatment, making it one of the most deadly forms of pediatric brain tumors. 

"Designating May 17 in recognition of this deadly pediatric brain tumor is a meaningful step for Ohio's solidarity with the families confronting this disease," said Senator Kunze. 

DIPG is an aggressive, malignant brain tumor found at the base of the brain stem, affecting approximately 200 to 400 children in the U.S each year. It is the second most common malignant brain tumor and is the leading cause of childhood death due to brain tumors. The average prognosis of those diagnosed is 9 months. Symptoms include double vision, inability to close the eyelids completely, drooping of one side of the face as well as difficulty chewing and swallowing.

Limited medical progress has been made over the last 50 years to treat children suffering with DIPG. Recent advances in surgical and molecular analytic techniques have improved safety and potential use of brain stem biopsies, which are being incorporated into various clinical trials. 

"We are hopeful that our efforts will yield new insights into DIPG and therefore open new avenues for the investigation of targeted therapies," said Dr. Jonathan Finlay, Director of Neuro-oncology at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Experts at Nationwide Children's Hospital are helping lead an international effort seeking a cure for DIPG. Advancements in this field of research requires increased awareness among policymakers, health care providers and the general public. 

Stemming from a conversation with a local pharmacist, Senator Kunze introduced Senate Bill 57 to increase awareness about the devastating disease.

Lauren Hill, 19, a freshman college basketball player at Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, passed away in April 2015 following her battle with DIPG.

"When I was diagnosed I remember kind of feeling lonely because nobody understood. And now that more people know about this story and the awareness of DIPG. I'm so happy that people know about it now and that we can get some research going and hopefully find that home run cure for cancer," said Hill in a USA Today story, reporting on her final college basketball game in November 2014. 
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"Designating May 17 in recognition of this deadly pediatric brain tumor is a meaningful step for Ohio's solidarity with the families confronting this disease," said Senator Kunze. 


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