Mar 19, 2010
‘Katie’s bill’ signed into law
LANSING – Family and friends of Katie Viger gathered in Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s ceremonial office in the Capitol on Thursday to watch her sign Senate Bill 1172 into law that will be known as "Katie’s Law.”
State Sen. Ray Basham, D-Taylor, sponsored the bill that will allow the Department of Community Health (DCH to issue honorary nursing licenses to those with advanced illnesses. The story of Katie Viger caught the imagination of the nation. She graduated from the competitive nursing program at 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. Her lifelong dream was to have her license. She received it just a few days before she passed away when it became clear the bill would have no problem passing.
“This was a rare opportunity to truly grant the wish of a citizen and it was a great honor to acknowledge her hard work and present Ms. Viger with the license,” Basham said. “I’d like to thank the Department of Community Health, Senator Patterson and the countless others involved for helping make this happen.”
Katie’s first nursing instructor, Cathy Wakefield, initiated the grassroots campaign to help her receive her license, including starting a Facebook group and encouraging people to contact their legislators. When Wakefield contacted Basham about Katie’s hope to receive her license, he got involved and worked with the DCH to expedite the process. He also introduced legislation to help address similar situations in the future.
Those joining Basham for the bill signing included Katie’s parents, Joe and Cathy Viger, her brother Mark and his fiancée Kathryn Triebel, and her grandparents, Thomas and Mildred Viger and Catherine Burke; Wakefield, DCH Director Janet Olszewski and Melanie Brim and Brenda Lawson from the Department of Community Health; Joyce Young, Henry Ford Health Systems’ Chief Nurse Executive; Rep. Ed Clemente, D-Lincoln Park, and Rep. Andrew Kandrevas, D-Southgate.