Elijah Clark is back from DC.
He told his story of survivorship and how illness and cancer impacted his collegiate experience at two different schools.
"I was tired much of the trip," he says. "I missed a few events, like a head-shaving fundraiser. But, I feel good. I met with each NC member of Congress and spent a solid day on Capitol Hill."
Not many 20-year-olds can say that.
Elijah is one of our longtime #MollysKids. We did a story on WBTV News at 11p before they left for Capitol Hill. He's a great guy -- many of you have followed his story for years.
I finally got in touch with his mom to hear how things went.
"Each representative we spoke with seemed appalled by what has taken place with his schooling," said mom Alishia Clark (she's center in the selfie). "They didn't realize what kids with special needs at a college level go through. Elijah spoke wonderfully and met two younger boys with cancer who he took under his wing. Seeing him interact with other kids was a joy."
Elijah and Alishia also talked with politicians about a bill on the table called STAR. It stands for Survivorship, Treatment Access & Research and was created by the St. Baldrick's Foundation. In its most simplistic of forms, the bill assures every child has the same rights as an adult in receiving good, accessible treatment.
A group within St. Baldricks called "46 Mommas" (named because 46 moms are told every day in the US their child has cancer) helped Alishia network with other parents, too.
"It was over the top," Alishia said over the phone. "It made us feel better to meet others who understand."
How is Elijah doing? Still cancer-free, but having issues. No one can determine what's going on. A GI doctor recently tested him for Hereditary Angioedema, a rare and potentially life-threatening genetic condition. If Elijah doesn't test positive for that, Alishia says he'll be outsourced this summer to Mayo Clinic to hopefully get some answers.
In the meantime... thank you, Elijah, for going to DC, telling your personal story and trying to make a difference.