A Springfield High School student with cystic fibrosis and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) teamed up today in Toledo to promote the need for more research on juvenile diseases.

Rachel Burns, 15, and Senator Brown joined in a news conference at Toledo Children's Hospital, along with Rachel's family, caregivers, and hospital officials to promote the senator's bill to require the National Institutes of Health to spend a bigger part of its budget on the illnesses that strike young people.

Miss Burns said she looks and acts like a normal teenager.

"On the inside there's a different story. I have CF. CF has affected my life a lot but the CF research center and the people who put their time and money into finding ways and medicines to find cures have dramatically helped not only me but everybody out there," she said.

The genetic disease causes a thickening in the mucus in the lungs of its victims, impairing their breathing and inviting infections.

“Children make up 20 percent of the U.S. population, yet not much more than 5 percent of research dollars coming out of NIH and other research dollars, government and other, go into pediatric research," Senator Brown said. "We know that some of the greatest minds, some of the most skilled minds, are doing pediatric research. We know that the emphasis has not been focused enough on pediatric research."

He said the bill he is co-sponsoring, the National Pediatric Research Network Act, would require NIH to set up eight research centers around the country to coordinate the research in a "hub and spokes" way.

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