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Teen cancer survivor writes letter to US Senator for more childhood cancer funding

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RICHMOND, Va. -- A VCU student reached out to U.S. Senator Mark Warner recently for help to raise more money to beat childhood cancer. It is a  battle 18-year-old Samantha Mays knows all too well.

In the letter, Mays wrote, "Dear Mark Warner, I'm sure you get many of these letters. At 14 years old I was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer called Ewing's Sarcoma."

During her cancer battle Samantha lost her hair and a lot of weight, but unlike many of the friends she made at hospitals where she spent so much time, Samantha survived.

Samantha May

Samantha Mays

“I lost some awesome people in my life. It’s absolutely ridiculous that we only get 4 percent of childhood research funding per year," the letter continued.

According to the St. Baldrick's Foundation, an organization that helps kids fight cancer- less than four percent of the National Cancer Institute's budget is dedicated to childhood cancer research.

"We are all worth more than 4 percent," Mays said.

Now cancer free, the VCU freshman wrote the letter as a part of her government class. What started off as an assignment turned into something much bigger when she posted the letter to Facebook.

"A lot of people say this letter deserves a response," said Mays.

Samantha May

Samantha Mays

The letter concluded, "How can we all sleep at night knowing those children’s lives have been changed forever and they could possibly not live to beat their cancer? Sincerely, An angry college student."

CBS 6 contacted Senator Mark Warner about Samantha’s letter, he said in part:

“Policies to combat childhood cancer are critically important to me. I am grateful to Samantha for speaking out about it.”

Warner also said he recently helped pass the "Gabriella Miller - Kids First Research Act."

Gabriella was a 10-year-old from Loudon County who died from brain cancer almost three years ago.

The act requires funding be set aside to support research into illnesses like childhood cancer.