Feb 19, 2010

Young woman’s story that touched people's hearts passes away

In a story that touched the hart of people all over Michigan and the nation, 23-year-old Katie Viger of Trenton passed away in her home on Thursday less than a week after she received her honorary nursing degree, her lifelong dream.

She graduated from the competitive nursing program Henry Ford Community College in May of last year, but in August she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, just days before she was to take her exam to receive her nursing license. Friends and supporters pushed for the Department of Community Health to grant Katie her honorary nursing license, and it quickly gained steam with a Facebook group of more than 5,000 people.

The problem was the DCH had no authority to issue such a license. After being contacted by family and friends, Sen. Ray Basham, D-Taylor, sponsored legislation to allow the DCH to issue a license when a person has completed all the required course work but is not able to take the exam because of serious illness or event. It will be called “Katie’s Law.”

DCH issued the license because the legislation is pending but has bipartisan support, and Basham presented the license to her family on Friday, Feb. 12. The bill will be introduced Tuesday, and it is expected to be taken up quickly.

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