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Minnesotans Call for Medical Research Funding

A Rally for Research will be held Saturday on the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol. (American Heart Association)
A Rally for Research will be held Saturday on the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol. (American Heart Association)
August 3, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Advocates hope a rally at the State Capitol this weekend will call attention to the importance of medical research.

Several nonprofit organizations have stepped up to defend funding for the National Institutes for Health, which President Donald Trump has proposed cutting for 2018 by almost $6 billion.

Melanie McIvor is a survivor of peripartum cardiomyopathy, a rare type of heart failure that happens during pregnancy or immediately after delivery. She developed the condition after her second daughter was born.

Medical experts aren't able to pinpoint who it's going to strike. McIvor says because of that, it's crucial that research into this disease and others continues.

“With mortality rates right now in the United States being rather high, it is kind of scary,” she states, “especially for young mothers because young mothers have so much that they would be leaving behind, you know.”

A Rally for Research on the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol is scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. and is open to the public.

Dr. Russell Luepker at the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota says many medical advances in the last few decades are allowing people to live longer because of diligent work by researchers.

"Saving human lives is what the bottom line is,” he states. “One also in this environment makes the argument that this not only creates lots of jobs in research, but it also ultimately creates jobs in American industries and drug companies and device makers."

McIvor says research into illnesses such as hers is crucial for her own sake, but also for generations to come.

"I want to make sure I'm going to be there for my daughters' wedding days and prom dates and things like that, but my main concern really is whether or not it's something that my daughters will have to worry about as they're entering their adult years and they're wanting to start a family," she states.

Trump had proposed slashing the NIH by $1.2 for the rest of this year to boost defense spending. Instead, Congress gave the agency an extra $2 billion for the rest of 2017.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MN