CCTR talks with Ellyn Miller of Smashing Walnuts Foundation for pediatric brain tumor research.


Ten-year-old Gabriella Miller was herself a strong advocate for children with cancer, and the inspiration for Smashing Walnuts Foundation; sadly, she passed away from DIPG in October of 2013.  The following April, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Gabriella Miller Kids First Act which allocates funding for important pediatric resarch through the National Institutes of Health, to the tune of $12M in the next 10 years.  Her legacy is strong throught the continuing advocacy work of her mother, Ellyn Miller, who tirelessly lobbies members of Congress and the NIH to achieve a system that prioritizes cancer resarch for children.


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About Janet

Blessed with varied interests and an artistic and musical upbringing, Janet had health challenges throughout her young adult life. Despite these she graduated Cum Laude from Wellesley College with an award of distinction for acting, and had also been a champion equestrian. She began a family with her husband Barry later in life, and had finally found happiness with daughter Sophie-Marie (3/12/06) and then baby (Jack 8/30/08). Five weeks after his birth, the family escaped a wildfire in which all worldly possessions were lost. The family relocated in December of 2008 to Agua Dulce CA where they currently reside.

Jack began to have unsettling symptoms at the age of 3; he was taken to Children's Hospital Los Angeles and was diagnosed with DIPG, or diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, on Friday Oct. 28, 2011, indisputably the darkest experience of Janet's life. The outrage of it made her determined to find the good in the situation, and she asked God to "Put me to work!" After Jack's death, she remained determined to start working to find solutions to DIPG and incorporated Jack's Angels at the end of 2012; the Foundation began its work in 2013. Despite the fact that DIPG is responsible for the majority of brain tumor deaths in children, she had been told there were no solutions for Jack because "the numbers aren't great enough for investors." This remains the primary motivation in her advocacy work, to prioritize children's lives in our medical system in the United States.