"Sahara's Law" honors loved one, aims to help others

Published: Mar. 30, 2012 at 10:55 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 30, 2012 at 11:25 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A mother's mission to keep her daughter's memory alive opens a door to help others.

13-year-old Sahara Aldridge of Cape Girardeau died more than four years ago after a 17 month battle with cancer.

If a new measure in Missouri becomes law you'll soon have the chance to help kids like Sahara.

It's called "Sahara's Law". It would give you the chance to donate at least a dollar of your Missouri income tax refund to pediatric cancer research.

It's something Sahara's parents feel would make a tremendous impact.

"We were so proud of her," said Amy Aldridge-Sahara's Mom. "She was the bravest little girl."

In November of 2007 13-year-old Sahara Aldridge died peacefully at home after her fight with a cancerous brain tumor.

Her parents refuse to let their daughter's memory fade.

"24/7 I'm thinking how can we stop this," said Shannon Aldridge-Sahara's Dad. "I don't want to see another set of parents go through what we went through."

This summer the couple will host the third annual Hoops for Life 5k run/walk event in which they will raise money for pediatric cancer research.

To the Aldridge's, it's never enough.

"As an individual you can't do everything, but in great numbers you can accomplish wonderful things," said Amy Aldridge.

Amy Alrdridge's chance meeting with State Representative Wayne Wallingford put her on yet another path toward her goal of helping others.

"I listened to her story about Sahara, and it was compelling," said Representative Wallingford. "I had to do something."

"He acted on it right away," said Amy Aldridge.

Representative Wallingford is sponsoring Sahara's Law.

"This bill would allow Missouri taxpayers to donate on their income tax form if they get a refund, a minimum of one dollar," said Wallingford.

The money would go to the CureSearch for Children's Cancer.

According to that organization, every day 36 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer. The good news is, the overall survival rate has increased from 10% to 78% in the last 40 years.

Aldridge says continued research is critical.

"It's a tragedy in the richest country in the world we're not putting our children first," said Amy Aldridge.

For them, it's another way to honor their daughter.

"She would have been a senior this year and a graduate of the class of 2012," said Amy Aldridge. "I would encourage everyone in memory of her to help us get Sahara's law passed."

Representative Wallingford expects to see some movement on this bill before the end of the legislative session.

If enacted it would take effect next year.

A similar measure underway in Illinois inspired the Aldridge's to get something passed in Missouri.

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