Sahara's Law

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Many people know the story of Sahara Aldridge, the 13-year-old Cape Girardeau girl who died in 2007 from a brainstem glioma. Nicknamed "Hoops," her parents started a fundraiser in 2010 named in her honor: Hoops for Life. The 5K run/walk has helped raise money for pediatric brain tumor research.

Thousands of dollars have been raised through the fundraiser, and more could soon be on the way for pediatric cancer research if a bill making its way through the House becomes law.

Introduced in the Senate by state Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau, Senate Bill 35, commonly referred to as Sahara's Law, would add a checkoff box to individual and corporate state tax forms. Those filing could donate a portion of their tax returns -- a minimum of $1 -- to CureSearch for Children's Cancer.

Several checkoff boxes for charities already are on the books, and, according to Wallingford, the average fund collected $11,800 in fiscal year 2012.

Wallingford said the genius of this legislation came from an unexpected meeting with Amy Aldridge -- something the senator refers to as "a God thing." Then serving in the House, Wallingford drafted the legislation. He refiled the bill after joining the Senate in 2012.

Sahara's Law made its way through the Senate with strong support, and state Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, is carrying it forward in the House.

Amy and Shannon Aldridge have done tremendous work to help raise funds for pediatric cancer research. Their efforts may help find cures one day, helping other children afflicted with this terrible disease.

Sahara's Law is another effort to raise much needed funds. While many people already donate to worthy causes, including pediatric cancer, this effort provides another opportunity and can streamline the donation process.

We applaud Wallingford and Engler for their efforts, and it's our hope the House passes the legislation this session.

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