LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- Kimberly Graham, a UW-L graduate, has battled Ewing Sarcoma, childhood cancer that causes tumors, since high school. In July, after all the standard treatments were unsuccessful, she and her family traveled to the national institutes of health to have a surgery that she hoped would qualify her for a clinical trial.
"It was our last shot for something that was experimental and brand new research for Kimberly," said Dawn Graham, Kimberly's mom.
The surgery wasn't as successful as Kimberly and her family hoped and she couldn't get the experimental treatment, but still Kimberly says the NIH provides hope.
"I would say everyone we met at the NIH, they're kind of on their last lifeline, looking for ideas there," Kimberly said. "It was really nice to know that we had cutting edge research."
But much of that potentially live saving research is on hold because of the shutdown. Nearly 75 percent of the NIH staff is furloughed, and for every week the government is closed, an estimated 200 patients are turned away and about 30 of those are children.
"For parents to have to watch their child suffer is horrible and then to be turned away then they're grasping for straws, on a treatment level, is just unacceptable," Dawn said.
Kimberly says she can relate to those unable to get in to the NHI, as the shutdown hinders her search for a cure.
"I understand how important it is and how much hope it gives people," Kimberly said. "And it's upsetting to me because as we're searching for a clinical trial, we use clinicaltrials.gov, which is not updated because of the shutdown."
Kimberly says Congress needs to take a look at the real victims of the budget battle.
"Try and think of what's best for the American people, especially the people who are sick and suffering where their lives could be changed by a clinical trial," she said. "It would be ideal if they could put aside their differences."
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