Fighting for daughter, NC pastor walking to DC

Monday, July 10, 2017
NC pastor walking to DC in healthcare protest
James Brigman is concerned about healthcare reform and his daughter, who requires around-the-clock care.

RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- A North Carolina pastor is walking hundreds of miles to the nation's capital to keep his seriously ill daughter alive.

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James Brigman is protesting cuts to Medicaid as lawmakers debate how to repeal and replace Obamacare.

He began his journey Friday morning from Rockingham and arrived in downtown Raleigh on Monday afternoon to a cheering crowd.

His 9-year-old daughter, Lauren Faith, and his wife arrived right behind him.

James Brigman's wife, Lori, and daughter, Lauren Faith, arrive in Raleigh.

"She can't stand up, she can't speak. All she can do is inspire people," he said.

Lauren was born with a rare disease that confines her to a wheelchair and feeding tubes.

She requires constant nursing care and receives help from the state's Community Alternatives Program for Children (CAP/C). It pays for the state's sickest children to get care in the comfort of their own home that private insurance does not cover, and it has kept Lauren alive since she was born.

"Without that I wouldn't be able to work. My wife wouldn't be able to work," Brigman said. "We would have lost everything we worked for. We wouldn't be able to work and take care of her either."

Though CAP/C is not identified for cuts in the Senate health care plan, deep cuts to Medicaid spending could force state health officials and state lawmakers to slash funding and services to the state's nearly 2,400 medically fragile children.

About 142,000 North Carolina children are in danger of losing coverage altogether, according to the Urban Institute.

RELATED: Read the Urban Institute report (.pdf)

"I just want to tell them to get to know the facts before you make hasty decisions," Brigman said.

He is wasting no time getting his message to lawmakers about the potentially devastating consequences for his family and so many more.

"I plan on going as far as I have to go just to get awareness," he said.