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Lakey family joins Edwards on trail

From NBC/NJ's Tricia Miller
WEST DES MOINES, IA -- This morning at Des Moines Area Community College, Edwards introduced the Lakey family, who made famous in his book Four Trials. In 1993, five-year-old Valerie Lakey was disemboweled by a pool drain, and Edwards represented her -- and eventually a dozen more children who had suffered similarly -- in court, leading to a $25 million settlement that covers her medical expenses for the rest of her life.

"I know John because he saved my daughter's life," said Sandy Lakey, Valerie's mother, in introducing the former senator. She told the audience that a lawsuit was the furthest thing from her mind following the accident, but that Edwards came alongside them and fought on their behalf. (*** Just to clarify: The Lakeys sought out Edwards' services.***)

"We went into that courtroom, and we battled and we fought. And the Lakeys can tell you the details of that battle," Edwards said. "It was a difficult, difficult time for them."

Edwards was here as part of his three-day "Fighting for America's Voice" tour through Iowa. Also traveling with him is James Lowe, whom Edwards often references in his call for universal health care. Lowe was born with a cleft palate and therefore couldn't speak. As Edwards tells it, Lowe couldn't get it repaired because he didn't have health insurance, so a surgeon generously did it for free when Lowe was 50 years old. That was when Lowe got his voice back, Edwards explained in stops yesterday.