Sickle-cell Anemia Deserves Attention

Source: Courtesy of Date published: 3/9/2010

Sickle-cell anemia deserves attention

As parents of and advocates for those who suffer the debilitating, devastating effects of sickle-cell anemia, we were encouraged by the March 3 editorial ["Striking a cord"].

In the current national health care debate, with its drama and divisiveness, it was refreshing to see the cooperative efforts of those in our state legislature addressing the long-neglected needs for relief for the more than 70,000 minorities (predominantly African-Americans) nationwide who suffer from this disease.

We thank Del. Bob Marshall for introducing the bill to promote education for the healing potential of umbilical-cord blood.

Our continued gratitude goes to Sen. Edd Houck in his role as chairman of the Senate Committee on Education and Health for his consistent, outstanding commitment to the cause of sickle-cell diseases, and our congratulations go to the Davis family for their courage and persistence.

All have helped to make this disease and its ramifications more visible and its ultimate cure possible.

Lawrence A. Davies and Janice P. Davies


The writers are co-presidents, Fredericksburg Area Sickle Cell Association, Inc.

Autism Insurance Bill Rebuffed in House

Source: Richmond Times DispatchWritten by STAFF REPORTS Written March 5

This is an except from the Richmond Times Dispatch, General Assembly Brief, March 5. Another attempt to mandate health insurance for autistic children was turned aside on the House of Delegates floor yesterday.

Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, sought to amend a bill that would allow health maintenance organizations to offer to small businesses health insurance that does not mandate insurance coverage, but Speaker of the House William J. Howell, R-Stafford, ruled the amendment was not germane.


Striking a Cord

Who didn't show up at a House of Delegates committee meeting? Source: Courtesy of Date published: 3/3/2010

DEL. BOB MARSHALL, R-Manassas, is known for his often strident pro-life positions, but the witnesses he brought to a recent hearing of the Senate Committee on Education and Health left legislators more misty-eyed than mystified.

At issue was Mr. Marshall's bill promoting education on the healing potential of umbilical-cord blood. To illustrate, he invited the Davis family from Texas to testify, notes Scott Leake of the Thomas Jefferson Institute.

Mr. Davis explained that his older son was born with sickle cell anemia, a devastating disease that may be ameliorated by cord blood. The Davises were unable to find a match--until they were blessed with a second son, whose umbilical-cord blood provided just the cells needed to help his big brother.

The testimony of the family--including the two little boys--moved even jaded lawmakers. "The only superfluous moment," reports Mr. Leake, "was when Chairman [Edd] Houck, who by Senate procedure had to pose the question, asked if anyone wanted to speak in opposition to the bill. Since Beelzebub, Mephistopheles, and Satan were absent, no one spoke."

The bill passed 15-0.