Plano family lobbies lawmakers for child health funding

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by MARCUS MOORE

Bio | Email | Follow: @MarcusMoorewfaa

WFAA

Posted on June 23, 2014 at 6:13 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 23 at 6:15 PM

A North Texas family is in Washington D.C. with plans to lobby Congress for more funding of children's hospitals.

Mike Kaighan of Plano fought back tears Monday as he talked about his daughter Emmy's difficult journey.

In 2010, the seven-year-old was diagnosed with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. The disease causes the body to attack the central nervous system, leaving its victims unable to speak, walk, or have complete control over their muscle movements.

"She is much better now," Kaighan said about his daughter's years-long recovery, but it remains a constant battle. Emmy still needs physical, speech, and occupational therapy.

Fortunately, her family says, she's been able to get all of the treatment she needs under one roof at Children's Medical Center Dallas. That is much more difficult, however, for families who rely on Medicaid and may not live in a major metropolitan area.

"We want to ensure that other families can get the same kind of care that we did," Kaighan said.

They are joining dozens of other families in Washington to represent 26 children's hospitals across the country. The family is attending the Speak Now For Kids Family Advocacy Day in the nation's capital.

The Kaighans plan to meet with several Texas lawmakers. Their hope is to push for legislation that will increase funding and improve communication between health care providers.

E-mail mmoore@wfaa.com

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