Local woman to attend President Trump's first joint address to Congress

A young lady from Fulshear is getting a pretty big invitation to Washington DC and she's hoping to use her trip to fight for access to a controversial treatment that she says saved her life.

A young lady from Fulshear is getting a pretty big invitation to Washington D.C. She's hoping to use her trip to fight for access to a controversial treatment that she says saved her life.

Sarah Hughes' voice is reaching far past the farm, where she grew up.

Hughes, 25, will be a guest of honor as President Trump makes his first joint address to Congress.

She was invited by her U.S. Representative Pete Olson, (R-TX 22) who dedicated his vote for the 21st Century Cures Act to her.

"I do feel like it raised awareness for people with chronic illnesses or other disorders,” said Hughes.

The Act was signed by President Obama and speeds up access to new drugs. Opponents worry it benefits drug companies more than patients, but Sarah sees it as victory.

"I went from either being in the hospital or being at home on bed rest, I rarely left the house,” she said.

Since birth, she's battled a chronic illness called Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, but then came the option of adult stem cell therapy.

"I knew I didn't have a lot of time left in this world, so I just said I would like to go out trying,” she said.

Her stem cells were processed and banked at the Houston lab Celltex. Then, Sarah flew to Mexico for the therapy, because it isn't approved in the U.S.

"I know we have to have checks and balances, but when you have an already approved FDA Lab, it’s ridiculous that people have to travel outside of this country,” said Fiona Cunningham, her mother.

The new law doesn't change that. However, Sarah sees her seat at a presidential address as a chance to share her story that's now blossoming back on her farm.

"It just means the world to me to go and represent not only my district that my congressman represents, but represent the people that are chronically ill in the United States as well,” she said.

Sarah even credits her stem cell treatment for being able to get married. She’s engaged and planning a wedding for May.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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