danielle highley state of union

Danielle Highley: CHIP Recipient and Special Guest at the State of the Union Address

On Monday, Danielle Highley of Deer Lodge, Montana, and her mother flew over 2,200 miles to Washington, D.C. with Montana Sen. Steve Daines to attend today’s State of the Union address. Sen. Daines invited Dani, age 9, and her mother, Glory, to join him after he told Dani’s story on the floor of the U.S. Senate earlier this month, urging his colleagues to support long-term CHIP funding.

CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, was created over two decades ago with overwhelming bipartisan support. The program insures vital health care for nearly 9 million children across the country. In September 2017, Congress allowed funding to expire, and the program was in danger of ending coverage for those children. Last week, Congress extended funding to CHIP for six years.

danielle highley state of union Dani was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis at 18 months old and lost her ability to walk. She started taking injections that helped tremendously – but the cost of this treatment was enormous. Thankfully, Dani qualified for CHIP, and has gotten the treatment she so desperately needed. When funding expired last fall, Dani’s mother was nervous … and rightfully so. Dani’s doctor wrote to Sen. Daines when she heard he would be speaking about CHIP to other members of Congress. She told their story and how CHIP’s life-altering treatment has made such an amazing difference in their lives.

While in Washington, Dani and her mom have been sightseeing and are no doubt excited to attend the State of the Union address tonight. We are so excited for them to have this incredible experience.

Dani and her mom are enthusiastically involved with the Arthritis Foundation through JA camps and our Advocate program. Our Advocates and Ambassadors help improve the lives of the 54.5 million adults and 300,000 children in America living with arthritis by telling their personal stories – please consider joining us in the fight against arthritis.

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