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Linda Sweet testifies before a Senate committee in December 2013, soon after she helped member Pamela Chappell. (Photo by Dietsch Images)

One blazing hot day in the fall of 2013, 69-year-old Pamela Chappell, a retired supermarket employee, sat in her car in the parking lot of her Sacramento, Calif., credit union and cried.

The last few years had been rough. A medical condition called lymphedema made her legs swell and required regular wrapping and expensive medication.

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