After nine months of chemotherapy, radiation, a spinal fusion and several surgeries, 30-year-old mom Michelle Langbehn's cancer was still spreading. Last July, her oncologist gave her two years to live. Despite a grim diagnosis, the young mother from Auburn, Calif., was not about to give up. She discovered an exciting clinical trial for a drug called Cabozantinib, one of the few drugs approved to treat her Sarcoma. Langbehn's medical records had been approved and she was set to be evaluated on Monday to see if she could enroll in the trial. When the government shut down on Oct. 1, the entire process was put on hold.
"I am furious," Langbehn told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "They are denying or delaying potentially life-saving treatments to Americans in need of a miracle. I speak for everyone battling cancer when I say we don't have time to wait."
Langbehn is not alone. According to CNN, hundreds of cancer patients are admitted into groundbreaking trials at the National Institutes of Health each week. With their admittance comes a new round of hope that their treatment will succeed. Until the government showdown ends, none of them will receive these new and valuable drugs.
"[The government shutdown] is not just about the national parks. There are people who are just like me that frankly cannot wait," Langbehn said. "I do not plan on letting this take me away from my family."
In addition to cancer patients being denied admittance into clinical trials, the government shutdown is affecting other programs that help parents and children every day. In addition to the national parks and monuments closing down, the Washington Post has detailed the most impactful ways the government shutdown could affect your life, below:
- Federal workers will have their paychecks delayed
- Veterans may not receive benefits if the shutdown lasts more than two weeks
- The CDC will stop its flu program
- FDA food inspections will cease
- Funding will stop for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (known as WIC)
- Head Start programs for children will start closing
- Disability benefits could be interrupted
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Photos of Michelle Langbehn via KCRA 3