by RICK HUTZELL,  rhutzell@capgaznews.com

A 6-year-old Bowie girl suffering from a rare allergic disorder toured Capitol Hill on Tuesday to build support for more research funding.

Zuri Lancaster and her mother, Paula, met with U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer to talk about eosinophilic esophagitis, which makes it difficult for her to eat most nutritious foods.

“Zuri is such a trooper! She was on the Hill to ask senators and representatives to support increased (National Institute of Health) funding for research,” said Lynn Morrison of the American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders.

Eosinophil-associated disorders are a chronic, debilitating disease for which there is no known cure. They are characterized by high numbers of eosinophil blood cells accumulating in body tissues causing inflammation and damage to organ systems. In Zuri’s case, the problem is in her esophagus. In order to maintain or gain any weight, she drinks elemental formula.

In additon to the Lancasters, Cardin met with Joshua McCoy, 3, of Richmond, Va., and Rosemary Moriarty of Fairfax, Va., leader of the Washington, D.C. Area Eosinophilic Connection, and her son Jack. Both boys also suffer from eosinophilic esophagitis. The nonprofit group supports families in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia who have children with the disease.

“These children experience such extreme pain as well as invasive tests such as upper GI endoscopies,” Venetoulis wrote in an email.

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