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Letter from parent of vaccine-injured child (Christian Alexander's story):

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Letter from parent of vaccine-injured child (Christian Alexander's story):

Mister (Madame) Chairman, members of the Committee (Subcommittee):

I am James Raymond Donnelly.  My son, Christian Alexander Donnelly, is
autistic.  He will never be self-sufficient, never be productive.  He
will always be a burden.  Yet he was not born this way.  Quite the
contrary.   For the first eighteen months of his life, he was a healthy,
happy little boy and the joy of our life. He was born on November 13,
1992, weighing eight-pounds, four-ounces.  He crawled, he walked, he
climbed.  He had lots of little friends and enjoyed being with them. We
played and he mimicked us.  We made faces, he made faces.  We played
games, and he sang songs as quickly as we could teach them to him.  I
remember once when our little family went to Chicago.  He wasn't even a
year and a half old.  We were at a stop sign, and counting down turns to
a friend's house.  His mom said, "That's one." And Alexander piped up:
"two.three.four. five.six." And so on.  We thought we had the perfect
child.  Don't all parents think so?

All that changed.  It changed on May 9, 1994.  What September 11, 2001,
was to all Americans is what May 9, 1994, was to us.

On that day Alexander's mom took him to the health department for a
series of vaccines recommended by his pediatrician. Alexander received
seven vaccines that day, including HbPV, polio, DTP, and MMR. We had
absolutely no reason to think Alexander would receive anything but safe,
effective drugs.  How sadly mistaken we were.

Alexander cried the next few nights and was grouchy for several days.
Then he became ill.  We took the first appointment with his pediatrician
we could get, on May 18, 1994. By that time, Alexander was suffering
from chest congestion, coughing, green nasal drainage, and fever. The
doctor treated him with a regimen of antibiotics.  Within a week the
drugs seemed to relieve the symptoms.

But from then on, Alexander was a very different child. He did not
interact with us or his friends as much as he had previously. He did not
demonstrate any further improvement in social or learning skills. We
thought perhaps he was reacting to having a new brother who was born
around that time.  In October, 1996, Dr. Peter Tanguay, an expert on
autism, gave us the real answer.  Our child, Alexander, was autistic.

As time went on, Alexander didn't improve at all. He began holding his
hands on his ears and squealing at a high and uncomfortably loud pitch.
He refused to stay inside the house and would leave frequently. We were
forced to put dead-bolt locks on every door in the house and even nail
the windows shut. He would frequently remove his clothing no matter
where he was and run around naked. In fact, he still removes his shirts
and will even put his coat on over his bare upper torso in the
wintertime. We finally potty trained Alexander when he was nearly six
years old. Since the day he received his vaccines, he has not been able
to answer a question with anything other than a 'yes' or 'no'. In the
last few months he has been on a diet exclusive of wheat and dairy
products. We believe that is why he has recently been able to use small
assortment of complete sentences.

He hasn't made a friend since he received the shots. He remains
isolated. He tries to interact with other children, but he is unable to
do so with anything other than repetitious questions. He is invariably
unsuccessful.  He is constantly frustrated.  He has trouble asking for
the things he wants and needs. He has difficulty controlling his
behavior and becomes violently angry when we can't understand what he is
saying.  He spends a great deal of his time dropping small items behind
furniture and using straight objects to follow grains in wood furniture.
He likes to watch the same movies over and over. He loves the violin,
but can't comprehend instruction well enough to hold one properly, much
less learn to play. He loves to play on swings, as the motion appears to
stimulate him somehow. We believe these are all the result of a
perceptual incapacity that he's trying to compensate for. He still has
the same level of development in the third grade that he did in the
first. It's clear the school is moving him along because of his age. His
teachers do not have adequate training or resources to provide him the
education he so desperately needs--and to which he is entitled by law.

Then we arrive at the emotional ruin and financial loss that autism
creates for us and for many others. Parents are facing bankruptcy as the
result of paying huge amounts for the medical and educational needs of
these children.  Insurance companies choose not to cover these expenses.
Public schools are not adequately funded to provide for their
educational needs.

Chances are Alexander will outlive his mother and me.  He'll need to be
cared for as an adult. Millions of other autistic children will need to
be cared for, too.  There is a 10-17% annual rise in the frequency of

But the impact on an autistic child's family goes well beyond the
financial burden. Siblings are denied many opportunities because
families are unable to go anyplace in public because it's so difficult
to control the autistic child's behavior. In my case, my younger son
Brendan can't participate in sports unless we can find a baby-sitter for
Alexander so we can take him to his ball games. In our case, too, the
financial strain led Alexander's mother and me to divorce. Both of our
children suffer emotionally as a result.

I blame the vaccines Alexander received for all of this. Vaccines, in
and of themselves, are blessings, for all of us. I believe the problem
lies in the manufacture and administration of these drugs. I understand
they are preserved with an untested form of mercury.  I would think that
mercury of any kind is unacceptable in vaccines.  This year, seven years
after his shots, Alexander underwent a metals toxicity test, which
revealed that mercury levels in his body exceeded 20 times the EPA's
established safety margin. This is a reflection of Alexander's apparent
over-exposure to thimerosal.

Combining drugs to deliver them with one injection, the MMR vaccine for
example, is risky. I believe that administering the Hepatitis-B vaccine
at birth creates a greater risk than the benefit it provides as the
baby's body already has a multitude of adjustments to make when it is

It is also clear that some children may have a genetic predisposition
not to be tolerant of the bodily insult the vaccine creates. Knowing
this, we should take measures to isolate these factors and avoid the
reckless administration that has become so prevalent. Parents should
also have a choice on whether to administer these vaccines and they
should be made aware of the possible risk to which they are subjecting
their children.  By not addressing the risk, we're essentially playing
"Russian Roulette" with our children's lives. We're not only risking
autism, but ADD, ADHD, behavioral problems and other neurological

A cynic would view with suspicion the uncomfortably close relationship
between the CDC and FDA and the drug companies who are directly affected
by the federal agencies' policies. When the federal agencies accept drug
manufacturers' money, how can they act impartially and in the best
interests of children? It can promote an environment of partiality for
the parties providing these dollars. In other arenas, this might be
considered to be an abuse of trust or possibly even bribery.

But let me return to my son, Alexander. Autism is often considered as a
genetic disorder that is present from birth. But if Alexander were
simply "wired wrong", he would not have developed normally for the first
eighteen months of his life. Something triggered his condition. I
believe it was the untested mercury in the vaccines he received.  Now
the best years of his life are long gone. And Alexander is not alone.
The impact on families goes beyond the comprehension of those who don't
have to live with autism. The implications are enormous. Our children
are becoming tax-services users instead of taxpayers. Our families are
going broke, which is affecting our economy. The drug companies are
making billions of dollars loading our children up with an increasing
number of pharmaceuticals and creating a whole new source of wealth from
the treatments for the disorders created by the questionable vaccines.
New treatment options and intensive research are mandatory in finding
answers to this dilemma. Insurance companies need to be required to
cover these disorders. A reduction in the sheer numbers of the vaccines
administered needs to be implemented until more thorough research is
completed. Education of medical professionals concerning the potential
dangers involved in the present use of vaccines should be a requirement
of government and licensure agencies. Parents should be made aware of
these possibilities and given a choice on how or whether to administer
these vaccines to their children. Implementation of these measures would
certainly reduce the rate of new instances of autism, which would indeed
be a step in the right direction.
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