An 11-year-old Calgary girl had no idea she would become something of a national spokesperson for cancer research when she travelled to Washington, D.C. over the weekend.
Natasha Gould, who has inoperable brain cancer, was interviewed by several major American media outlets after the Secret Service shutdown a candlelight vigil on Saturday night.
Hundreds of parents and their cancer-stricken children, who were involved in the CureFest for Childhood Cancer, were told they couldn't go into Lafayette Square.
"We waited for about two-and-a-half hours without no one telling us what was happening," said Gould, adding many of the children had to leave because of their illnesses.
"I was very disappointed," she added, saying she could not understand how they thought sick children were a threat.
The Secret Service said the event created a security concern. The Washington Post reported that Joseph Clancy, the director of the Secret Service, called one of the organizers to apologize on Monday.
- Secret Service dumps senior officials after series of security lapses
- 10 notable U.S. Secret Service incidents
'We need to find the answers'
Gould says she cried because the security clampdown reminded her of the way cancer funding is allocated.
"It kind of represents how the ... research funds are treated — like they weren't letting us in, they weren't letting us have enough money to find the answers," she said from her home in Calgary.
Gould says it is important to keep pushing for government funding into cancer research.
"I would really like to see everyone put their heart into this because we need to find the answers, and if we don't find the answers then more children are just going to keep dying and we're not going to get the response we are looking for," she said.
She says there is a chance the event will be rescheduled, and would like to return to Washington if that happens.