I was recently asked to share my story about my daughter Lorrin’s vaccine injury, before the California Senate, on April 8th, 2015 in opposition to SB277. I travel around the US talking to families who have unique children. I always mention Lorrin’s vehicle of injury, however, my focus is not on vaccines but how to help families navigate through parenting special needs children. My topic for 2015 is, “Caring for the caregiver”, a very important subject that is near and dear to my heart.
On April 8th I stepped out of the car, with the Capitol in full view and immediately was greeted by families wearing bright red “California Coalition for Health Choice” t-shirts. Pictures were taken; we then proceeded to the Capitol steps. Everywhere I looked there were people of all ages holding signs with their favorite “Pro-Health Choice” slogan. I felt over whelmed by the turnout and knew that it was going to be an emotional day. I spoke on the steps after Eric Gladen, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and Dr. Bob Sears. I watched, as the crowd grew larger and larger. When I spoke, I asked the attendees to raise a hand if they have a member of their family who is vaccine injured, I then asked them to raise two hands if they their family contained two or more members suffering from vaccine injury; a sea of hands appeared before me. Many more spoke that morning sharing their vaccine injury story and or voice in opposition of SB277.
I went inside the Capitol with 5 other speakers who were there to testify against the bill. The halls were crowded and voices were hushed in an attempt to keep the disruption of our overwhelming presence down for those who were conducting business. Hundreds of parents, doctors and children stood waiting in line. The six of us designated to speak walked in first. We took our seats in the front row marked for those who were there to testify.
I would like to share with you that it has been 5 years since Lorrin died and even longer since I have been treated as a second-class citizen in public. Back when Lorrin was alive I was used to having people get up and move away from us at restaurants and in the theater. Often people would suggest that I put Lorrin in the corner so that she would be “out of the way”. So when the Sergeant at Arms asked all of us testifying against the bill to move from the front row I was triggered to the old days when Lorrin was by my side. I did not want to get caught up in any confrontation, I needed to keep my focus, but I felt angry as I got out of my seat. Senator Pan’s Pro testifiers immediately sat down where we had been.
As I walked in to testify the first thing that I was told was that I could NOT bring in any signs. When the pro SB277 speakers spoke and Ariel Loop shared her story of her four-month-old son who contracted the measles, I thought it very tricky that Senator Pan walked around the senate showing a poster board of pictures of Ariel’s son. There was a picture of her with her son at Disneyland, a picture of her baby with a cloth mask covering his nose and mouth and one sleeping. I listened to Ariel’s testimony of how INCONVIENCED she was whilst dealing with her son’s measles. She also stated that she was deeply afraid of taking her son out of the house for fear of all the unvaccinated children who would infect her baby.
I must add a few points here:
1. As Senator Pan’s panel had the floor a toddler ran during his moms testimony calling out, “Mommy” over and over; words that were never spoken by my daughter.
2. I was surprised that Ariel Loop brought her young baby to an event that was filled with hundreds, maybe a thousand UNVACINATED adults and children. I know that during my daughters first years of life, Lorrin missed out on many events due to her medical fragility. It wasn’t until 6th grade that Lorrin was able to attend school year round so that she would not get sick during the cold and flu season.
3. When you have children life changes and it often becomes full of inconveniences. For me as a parent of a vaccine-injured child, things were never typical. I gave Lorrin 6 anti-seizure medications a day, nebulizer treatments and numerous therapies. She was hospitalized 171 days in the ICU in one year alone. I administered steroid shots into her tiny legs at the age of one, put her into a comma twice to stop her from having constant seizures. She had a feeding tube, tracheostomy and had a rod put into her spine so that she would be able to live eat and breathe, until she died in my arms at the age of 15. This is just a smattering of what Lorrin endured during her lifetime. I would love to have shared my pictures of Lorrin being on life support at the age of 3 with a collapsed lung and double pneumonia. And lets not forget the last year of her life she had diarrhea sometimes 4 times a day, weighing 65 pounds. Living with vaccine injury gets a bit messy. These pictures would have said way more than any words.
4. In the same amount of time that Senator Pan refers to a measles epidemic, 9,000 children were diagnosed with Autism.
I want to thank Senator Hernandez for giving us the opportunity to share for 20 minutes our plea for freedom of choice in America. Since that time there has been talk of Senator Pan being bullied and or threatened. I have made a commitment to go forward in love and do not condone any behavior that is filled with anger and hatred. That is just not what Lorrin was about. I do my best to share my story with love reminding people that my daughter’s life is equally important as the next child’s. Her life mattered, as all of our children matter.
This has become a desperate time as our human rights are being threatened. I listened to Senator Pan, while he presented his pro argument, and stated facts that were simply not true. It is time that our government must understand that we as a people will no longer stand by and listen to the lies that are being told about the vaccine statistics, Autism statistics and lies from the CDC. Without being too redundant, the vaccine schedule has never been studied, our kids are sick and if we stand by and allow SB277 to pass, by 2025 or sooner the Autism rates will be 1 in 2.
As I flew home I was notified that SB277 passed the first stages. I guess you can say that I knew from the first moment that I walked into the senate room that was to be the fate of the bill. I could tell by the lack of interest and look of boredom on the faces of the senate towards our 6 speakers. Even as I spoke of Lorrin’s death it seemed that I was barely making a connection. The playing field was not for a moment level, even though we talked about decisions of life and death for our babies. I realize that work has just begun on this vey important matter of our children’s health. I encourage you to please make your voices heard and stop this bill. Write the California senate, go down to the Capitol, call and tell everyone you know to do the same. We must protect our babies and their future.