If Sadeepa Munasinghe returns to Sri Lanka she will die. In 2004, Sadeepa Munasinghe moved to the U.S. to study medicine. After a year of excellent grades, she grew gravely ill and the doctors were baffled. For months, Sadeepa’s health grew worse until she could barely eat, sleep or walk. Finally, in 2005 she was diagnosed with Wilson’s disease, a rare genetic disorder that causes the accumulation of copper in the eyes, brain, kidneys and liver. Untreated, it is fatal. And there is absolutely no treatment in her home country, Sri Lanka. At the Wilson’s Disease Association’s recommendation, Sadeepa sought treatment at the University of Michigan. She spent 45 days at U of M Hospital fighting for her life, bedridden and attached to feeding and peg tubes.
Despite Sadeepa’s severe motor disabilities, she remained a full-time student and graduated from Eastern Michigan University with honors. However in order to maintain legal status, Sadeepa is forced to remain a full-time student. “The U.S. is forcing me to be a lifelong student or lose my legal status. Without legal status, I will be disqualified from receiving medical treatment and could be sent back to Sri Lanka where there is no treatment for Wilson’s.”
Aside from being a good student, Sadeepa is a model citizen. She has constantly maintained legal status. Through volunteer work at a soup kitchen, temple, and various churches, her faith has inspired many.
With access to treatment and therapy, Sadeepa can live a long and healthy life. The introduction of a private bill to secure permanent residence for Sadeepa would allow her to complete her Master’s degree, obtain full-time employment, and support herself. In 2012, a private bill was introduced and passed which secured permanent residence for a Nigerian national so that he could enroll in a U.S. medical school.
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I have signed this petition addressed to President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress in support of a private bill granting permanent status in the U.S. to Sadeepa Munasinghe. Sadeepa has been diagnosed with Wilson’s disease, for which there is no treatment in her homeland of Sri Lanka. Returning to Sri Lanka would be a death sentence.
Sadeepa is living in the U.S. on a temporary nonimmigrant visa. This status make it difficult for Sadeepa to devote the time necessary to her treatment and recovery as well as support herself.
Among the University of Michigan doctors recommending Sadeepa’s permanent status is Dr. Bettcher, “I request that you bring in a private member’s bill to grant Sadeepa permanent status in the United States to fight this crippling disease as a united family.” In 2012, a private bill was introduced and passed which secured permanent residence to a Nigerian national so that he could enroll in a U.S. medical school. With access to treatment and therapy, Sadeepa can live a long and healthy life. Please support a private bill to grant Sadeepa permanent residence in the U.S. so that she can continue life saving treatment.
Eva Weiss started this petition with a single signature, and now has 66,204 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.