Fairfax County teacher pushes for childhood cancer license plate to bring funding, awareness.

WASHINGTON — September is Child Cancer Awareness Month and during the month there is a push to get a special license plate that would help raise money to research childhood cancer. Seven kids die from cancer every day in the United States, according to a cancer information website, The Truth 365.While the war on childhood cancer rages on, one sad reality is that little money goes to research for pediatric cancer. Only 4 percent of the National Cancer Institute’s budget goes to kids cancer, The Truth 365 says. Now there is an effort to get a new license plate that would raise awareness about the fight for children’s lives. “The license plate, on the bottom is going to say ‘Cure Childhood Cancer,'” says Jay Coakley, a Fairfax County teacher, of the proposed license plate that would raise funds for childhood cancer research. Coakley, who started Ellie’s Hats — a non-profit that donates hats to kids with cancer, says “the most important part of the license plate is the gold cancer ribbon. Gold is the color for childhood cancer.”

Coakley is working to get the childhood cancer license plate approved in Virginia.

“The license plate would help bring a lot of awareness to everyone in the state of Virginia about childhood cancer. Awareness, hopefully equals actions which equals funding, which equals a cure,” Coakley says.

But the process for getting a “special interest” license plate approved requires some work.

“Long story short, we need 450 people to fill out an application and send a $10 check and in January we send it to the General Assembly,” he says.

The 450 pre-paid applications are required by Virginia law to get a new special license plate. Coakley says Virginia Delegate David Ramadan, R-South Riding, is on board to sponsor the new license plate legislation.

The application can be found at on the Ellie’s Hats website.

“Many of you might not know there is no license plate in the state of Virginia for childhood cancer. You can get one for breast cancer, you can get one for horse enthusiasts, you cannot get one for childhood cancer,” he says.

He say only about four or five state have childhood cancer licenses plates.

Raising money and awareness for childhood cancer is a cause that hits home for Coakley. He started his non-profit, Ellie’s Hats, after one of his kindergarten students, Ellie, began battling leukemia.

She’s now in the first grade.

Coakley, along with Roya Giordano of Team Mathias, are sponsoring the effort.

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