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Hometown Hero Uses Lessons from Daughter's Disease to Educate Others

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Greg Roeder is a military veteran, a shriner, a Springfield police officer and most importantly, a dad. This hometown hero is doing everything he can to get children the same help his own daughter received.
So basically if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be walking for talking or anything today.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Greg Roeder is a military veteran, a shriner, a Springfield police officer and most importantly, a dad.

This hometown hero is doing everything he can to get children the same help his own daughter received.

Greg and his 14-year-old daughter Danielle have come a long way together. When Danielle was only 6 months old, Greg and his wife Suzanne knew something was wrong.

"Just a little foot tick and we had no idea what was wrong with her."

They sought answers from dozens of doctors and talked with hundreds of health care providers, but no one could tell them what was wrong.

As the years went on, Danielle had no muscle control, never crawled, couldn't walk, and could barely speak. Her parents were relentless. At age six, the Mayo Clinic finally gave them their answer. They knew what was wrong.

"I was a complete quadriplegic until I was 6 and I didn't walk or anything until then," says Danielle. "I have L-dopa responsive Dystonia, which is a childhood version of Parkinson's."

She began taking medication and immediately her life changed. Today she's a healthy, active teenager.

"She just has this huge outgoing personality," says Greg. "She always just tries to make friends with people."

But the Roeders say they couldn't have done it without organizations like Children's Miracle Network, which provided emotional and financial support through it all.

"So basically if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be walking for talking or anything today," says Danielle.

Now Greg and his family do everything they can to give back to CMN.

"All my buddies here at work are hearing me say, 'hey, there's a CMN event this weekend' or 'hey, there's a telethon coming on.'"

As a veteran and police officer, Greg has seen the worst of the worst, but through the journey of tears, hopes and answers for his Danielle, he's also seen the best from others. He does what he can to help other children in the community.

"There's different ways of looking at law enforcement. We don't have the most popular jobs in the world, but it has given me a chance to see some kids that can maybe -- even if it's just talking to them for a few minutes or help the families with some different avenues."

To Danielle, her dad is a hero.

"Yes, I think so," she says.
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