Law will keep daughter's legacy alive, family says

Thursday, March 13th 2008, 2:48 pm
By: News 9

By Stacey Cameron, NEWS 9

Steffanie Collings, 18, died Thursday after living with brain cancer for the last five years of her life.

Collings' family inspired a bill requiring insurance companies to pay for the routine health care costs of patients who take part in clinical trials. The bill passed the state Senate Wednesday and is now going to the House for consideration.

The law would help Steffanie's legacy live forever, but more importantly, her family said it could help save a life.

When you see the life in her smile and hear the love in her voice it's easy to understand how Steffanie Collings became an inspiration to her father Monty.

"You know that's what's kept me going more than anything," Monty said.

Sadly, the life and love that kept Monty going ended this morning, when 18-year-old Steffanie passed away after a five year battle with brain cancer.

"God had a better plan for her, and we've accepted that," Monty said.

But what Monty will never accept is the fact Steffanie's insurance carrier refused to pay routine bills, things like lab tests and doctor visits, once she underwent clinical trials to help pro-long and possibly save her life.

"You work so hard to get the insurance and pay for the insurance, and then at the last minute to come up and find that they're not going to pay, that's very hard," Monty said.

Hard, not because of the $380,000 bill, it's hard because experimental cancer treatments were the only thing Monty's daughter ever asked for.

"That's all that she wanted was to go to a clinical trial just so she could live another day," Monty said.

Hearing Steffanie's story of survival, the Oklahoma Brain Tumor Foundation and State Senator Andrew Rice sponsored a bill called Steffanie's law.

While Steffanie didn't live long enough to see her law pass, Monty said with his daughter's strength and God's will, he's sure Steffanie's law will someday save a life.

"She lived to help others, and that's what this bill will do and I strongly believe that," Monty said.

Memorial contributions in Steffanie's name can be made to the Truth Church at the McClain Bank in Noble or to the Oklahoma Brain Tumor Foundation.