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The United States Congress currently is crafting health reform legislation that will impact us all-- if and when it is passed. It is my hope that these legislators consider the needs of families, and particularly children, in the process, and that is why I feel it is important to Speak Now for Kids.

As parents, my husband and I have experienced first-hand the challenge of seeking appropriate care for a seriously ill child—twice. At age three, our oldest child, Page, was diagnosed with a life-threatening form of cancer--leukemia. While we were thrilled to find out that the best hospital for her treatment was in our own backyard at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, OH, we were devastated to learn that our insurance company didn’t include Rainbow, or the treatment that was going to save her life, in our policy. We were incredibly fortunate to be able to pay the out-of-pocket costs that were necessary for Page to have access to the specialists and treatment at Rainbow, but we know there are many families who are not able to do this.

At seven months old, our son, John, was diagnosed with a dermoid cyst that spanned from the bridge of his nose to the lining of his brain. Within two months of the diagnosis, John came to Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital to undergo surgery—a bifrontal craniotomy—performed by a leading pediatric neurosurgeon. The cyst was removed successfully and only minimal follow up care was needed. Today, Page and John are happy, healthy and thriving kids thanks to the subspecialty care our family was able to access to treat both children.

As our health system is reformed, our legislators must ensure that all children have access to adequate health care, and that no family has to suffer financial disaster for their children to receive necessary treatment or access to the types of doctors who specialize in the care they need. Health reform should allow all kids to receive the right care at the right time. Health care policies MUST reflect children’s unique needs—health reform must include ALL children. Tell Congress what your concerns are about children’s needs in health reform at

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