Woman makes it her mission to help others with lymphedema

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Step by step, Judy Woodward is making her name known in Washington. But walking these halls wasn’t always easy.

“They told me at that time there was no treatment," Woodward said.

She was born with lymphedema. A condition where parts of the body, most commonly the arms or legs, swell up. She said compression sleeves maintained the swelling and helped her live a normal life.

They worked for Elaine Eigeman who got lymphedema after she had breast cancer.

“If I didn’t wear this I would watch my arm grow through the day," Eigeman added.

But in many states the compression bandages aren’t covered by Medicare. Woodward said that is costing patients anywhere from $50 to $800 every time they need to buy or replace them, which she said is generally every six months.

“I wish I had just a dollar for every time I said to somebody I said and these aren’t covered by Medicare and they said huh?" Eigeman shared.

That’s why Woodward went from office to office on Tuesday on Capitol Hill. She encouraged lawmakers to get on board with a bill that would make sure these patients are covered.

Lawmakers from Pennsylvania and Texas want to help Woodward’s cause and are asking their colleagues to support the bill.

Woodward said the biggest hurdle with getting this passed in Congress is just getting people to understand what lymphedema is.

She says after six years of trying they seem closer now then ever before, with every member she talked to here on Capitol Hill either signing on as a cosponsor or pledging their support.

For Woodward she isn’t slowing down on her mission to gain more support any time soon.

“I just want to help other people," Woodward added.

Tuesday is World Lymphedema Day where thousands of people like Woodward are spreading awareness about this condition that affects 170 million people worldwide.

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