Zeq’s bill to come before the General Assembly in January

November 29, 2013

Video Story by Paislee Winkler

RICHMOND, Va. — A bill will come before the General Assembly in January that affects people who rely on feeding tubes for nutrition.

Called Zeq’s bill, the measure is named after three-year-old Zeq Caalim from Virginia Beach, Va. Zeq suffers from Eosinophilic esophagitis, commonly known as EoE. It is a rare condition where white blood cells attack food as a foreign object.

“It is a very complicated disease, but we are now having a routine that is pretty set,” said Zeq’s mother, Kristine Caalim.

Feeding Zeq costs the family $50 a day, because medical food is not covered by insurance in the state of Virginia.

“It’s medically necessary,” said Kristine Caalim, “It’s not like I am asking to put a nose job on my child. I am asking to have this medically-necessary, miracle formula that helps my kid grow.”

With the support of their community, the Caalim family has raised more than $25,000 to put towards Zeq’s medical costs and has collected more than 300 signatures in support of Zeq’s bill.

Del. Glenn Davis of Virginia Beach is also advocating for Zeq’s bill. “If there was a pill that Zeq could take before he eats taht would allow him to consume food orally, that pill would be covered by insurance. There isn’t unfortunately, but the formula is not covered,” Davis said, “So we are trying to cover a fairness issue in the state.”

Zeq’s bill will be heard when the General Assembly convenes in January. If passed, if will join 15 other states with similar laws. You can learn more about Zeq’s story on his Facebook page.