State Representative Robert Cole Sprague Presents First Signed Law Declaring May as NF Awareness Month in the State of Ohio
Whereas dozens of states approve proclamations each year, Governor John Kasich signed first law in the country recognizing awareness of genetic disorder
COLUMBUS, OH – March 12, 2018 – On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, Representative Robert Cole Sprague (R-Findlay) will present Ohio Revised Code 5.259 to constituent and Hardin County resident Larry Gossard. The legislation designates May as “Neurofibromatosis Awareness Month,” providing recognition and awareness for the genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. Neurofibromatosis, or NF, affects 1 in 3,000 people, including Mr. Gossard’s son Bryce Wells-Gossard. Nearly 4,000 people in Ohio are affected by NF; there is no cure at this time.
The bill was first introduced by Rep. Sprague in late 2016. The legislative session ended before the bill could pass, but after being re-introduced in February 2017, it passed through the House Committee and the Full House of Representatives unanimously. Mr. Gossard testified in front of the Ohio Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee in October 2017. Ohio House Bill 45 passed the full Ohio Senate unanimously on February 20, 2018 and was signed into law by Governor Kasich the following week.
“Although it’s not a well-known disorder, neurofibromatosis affects many individuals throughout Ohio,” said Representative Sprague. “I am grateful for all of the work my constituent, Larry Gossard, puts forth to raise awareness to this issue and really appreciate the unanimous support by members in the House and Senate.”
WHAT: Presentation of first signed law proclaiming May as NF Awareness Month in the State of Ohio
WHEN: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 3:00PM
WHERE: Rotunda of the Ohio State House
1 Capitol Square
Columbus, OH 43215
WHO: Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay)
Larry Gossard, NF Dad and Hardin County resident
Ohio NF families
“I am humbled that Ohio is the first state to pass a law declaring May as Neurofibromatosis Awareness Month, and grateful to Representative Sprague for seeing it through,” said Larry Gossard, NF Dad and Hardin County resident. “This means so much to my family, especially Bryce’s mom Heather Wells and his brother Brayden Wells, to all the NF families throughout Ohio, and the entire NF community around the country.”
The Children's Tumor Foundation, a 501(c)3 foundation committed to driving research, expanding knowledge and advancing care for the NF community, is dedicated to finding effective treatments for the millions of people worldwide living with neurofibromatosis. In addition to benefitting those who live with NF, this research is shedding new light on several forms of cancer, brain tumors, bone abnormalities, and learning disabilities, ultimately benefiting the broader community.
"Increased recognition of NF is critical to driving the life-saving research that will benefit NF patients and their families,” said Simon Vukelj, Vice President, Marketing & Communications of the Children’s Tumor Foundation. “We’re honored that Representative Sprague and Governor Kasich recognized the vital need of Ohio NF families to expand awareness, raise money for research, and connect the NF community.”
Neurofibromatosis Awareness Month is recognized every May through numerous community events and widespread digital activities. The campaign takes place across multiple platforms and includes a heavy social media presence centered on those fighting NF and those who support them in their fight. NF Awareness Month aims to draw attention to the inspirational and remarkable stories of those living with NF and the critical need for research. Initiatives include #EndNF, I Know a Fighter, This is NF, Shine a Light on NF, plus city and state proclamations.
To learn more about NF Awareness Month, the Children’s Tumor Foundation and neurofibromatosis, please visit www.ctf.org.
About Children’s Tumor Foundation
The Children’s Tumor Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding effective treatments for the millions of people worldwide living with neurofibromatosis (NF), a term for three distinct disorders: NF1, NF2, and schwannomatosis. NF causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body and may lead to blindness, deafness, bone abnormalities, disfigurement, learning disabilities, disabling pain, and cancer. NF affects 1 in every 3,000 births across all populations equally. There is no cure yet – but the Children’s Tumor Foundation mission of driving research, expanding knowledge, and advancing care for the NF community fosters our vision of one day ending NF. For more information, please visit www.ctf.org.
Rebecca Harris, Public Relations Manager, Children’s Tumor Foundation
Asa Derry, Legislative Aide to State Representative Robert Cole Sprague