Resident, Lawmaker Push for Lymphedema Treatment Act

Cheryl Schafer says she has to wear this arm brace everyday.  The Port Richmond resident has Lymphedema, a condition that causes severe swelling. 

 

"If this is not controlled with compression garments and therapy, it really can balloon like crazy," said Schafer.

Schafer is also a Stage 4 Cancer Patient. She says the condition was brought on by a cancer surgery she underwent.

 

Compression treatments and braces make life more bearable, but Schafer fears she won't be able to afford them much longer.

 

She's switching to Medicare this May, and her supplies won't be covered.

 

"I can't just not wear my sleeve," she said.

 

Schafer and Congressman Dan Donovan are calling on lawmakers to pass the Lymphedema Treatment Act. 

 

It would make the supplies Schafer depends on eligible for Medicare coverage.

 

"This is something she needs to survive, to function, and this is a very inexpensive treatment that will prevent further deterioration of her health," said Rep. Donovan.

 

Schafer says she's also sharing her story to help others. 

 

According to the Lymphatic Education and Research Network up to 10 million Americans suffer from Lymphedema and other lymphatic disease.

 

"Would anybody really want to wear this without a matching one?  It's not a pretty thing, it's not a comfortable thing, there's a reason for it, and it's a medical reason, so why wouldn't it be covered?" asked Schafer.

 

The bill currently has 188 co-sponsors in Congress, which Donovan says it's a good sign. 

 

However, there's no clear timetable for when it could be voted on.

 

Schafer says she'll be waiting with bated breathe.  If left untreated Lymphedema can cause infections and disabilities. 

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