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Patient Stories

Rx in Reach Georgia

Brannen's Story

Told by his mother, Melissa Whirledge

Atlanta, GA


When our son, Brannen, was three years old, he started showing symptoms of ulcerative colitis (UC), which causes ulcers in his digestive tract. After Brannen was diagnosed, our family struggled for 10 months to find a medication that was effective in treating his unbearable symptoms.

During this period, he experienced extreme side effects from the medicines he was trying, and he also suffered from severe anxiety that his symptoms would strike when he was in school or out in public. It was extremely heartbreaking as a parent to watch Brannen suffer while he tried medication after medication to no avail.

Finally, after nearly a year of trying different medicines, we found one that allowed Brannen to live symptom-free. He could attend school again and live a normal life.


Just six months later, however, we received a letter from our insurance company, stating that Brannen’s medication would no longer be covered by insurance. Brannen would have to go back and fail on other medications before he could use the medication that actually worked.

We appealed the decision but were denied. It took us over a month to even receive the denial back from the insurer. After receiving the denial, we reached out to Brannen’s physician to begin appealing the decision through an exemption process. The insurance company was not transparent at all in letting us know what they needed to complete the exemption application.

The exemption was finally granted. Even with this great news, we know that we will have to appeal the exemption every single year. This is an enormous cloud hanging over our heads, especially as Brannen is again symptom-free now that he is back on his medication.

We implore you to take action so that families like ours will be able to take the medications that our physicians prescribe for us from the start. Our son’s health depends on it.

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