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State Senate Passes 'Gracie's Bill' For Girl Who Can't Feel Pain

By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) - A state lawmaker is coming to the aid of a little girl from Arvada who has a rare condition that prevents her from feeling pain.

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Gracie Hoyt (credit: CBS)

Gracie Hoyt is one of only 50 people in the world with her condition.

"A lot of people, when they hear Gracie can't feel pain, they think 'Oh, it's a super power' and I'd like to say, 'No, it is not a super power. It is a curse,'" said Susan Hoyt, Gracie's mom.

The family's struggles only worsened when the 7-year-old's doctor switched hospitals.

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(credit: Hoyt family)

Gracie was barred from following her because the doctor had signed a non-compete contract that prevented from seeing former patients for two years.

Her mom says it took years to find a doctor who could treat Gracie.

"We've got this kid with a very complex medical condition and what are we supposed to do now?" she said.

That's where Sen. Rachel Zenzinger (D) Jefferson County comes in.

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CBS4's Shaun Boyd interviews Sen. Rachel Zenzinger. (credit: CBS)

"We actually have a covenant not-to-compete in our state statute which seems kind of ridiculous," Zenzinger said.

She introduced a bill that makes an exception in non-compete contracts for doctors who treat rare disorders like Gracie's.

"It just made sense that, for people with these rare diseases, they already have difficulty finding the appropriate care that they need and they needed a champion," Zenzinger said.

She named the legislation "Gracie's Bill."

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CBS4's Shaun Boyd interviews Susan Hoyt. (credit: CBS)

Gracie's mom says her daughter may not have a super power, but she is a super hero.

"Gracie is this little super hero of love... anyone who meets this little girl falls in love with her. I call her Amazing Gracie, which she doesn't like, but she is amazing."

While the bill impacts a relatively small number of people - 7,000 Coloradans have rare conditions - for them, it is a big deal.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously and is expected to pass the House too.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4's political specialist. She's a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.


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