My name is Emma Rader and your name is Governor Jim Justice. That makes me think you’ll listen to what I want to tell you.
I was born on April 14, 2009 in my hometown, Falling Waters, West Virginia.
I have an older brother and two big sisters. As the baby, I was the favorite. Not in a bad way, my mom said, just special.
Yep, I was born special. I was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome but I wouldn’t say it defined me.
I started riding horses when I was three years old and my favorite movie was Secretariat.
My older sister is an amazing cheerleader and my brothers play soccer. I’ve never played myself, but that’s okay.
We all have our talents.
The beach has always been one of my most favorite places and I’ve even gotten to swim with dolphins in the Keys.
Berkeley Heights Elementary was where I found my favorite teacher- Miss Emma. We were like peas and carrots.
She loved me.
One day, I came home from school in my wheelchair and I was hurting, but not having words meant I couldn’t tell my family.
They were so worried.
My mom and dad took me to the doctor and after four days and 17 x-rays, the doctors told Mommy I had a broken hip.
I couldn’t have surgery and grew weak. I got pneumonia.
No one knew what happened. My mom was so worried and though she knew Miss Emma would never have hurt me, she worried about the other teachers.
I was only seven years old.
If I hadn’t died, I would be turning double digits this April.
Could you help my mom? And my dad. They are so very sad and I want them to know it’s not their fault.
They did the very best they could to keep me safe and loved me very much.
Mr. Governor, your job is to take care of West Virginia and some of my friends have been hurt at school and, well, they don’t have a voice either.
Thank you, Mr. Justice for your consideration.