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At work yesterday, a coworker of mine asked if I would like to buy a raffle ticket.  As I usually buy tickets because it helps defray costs for sporting teams, class trips, etc., I said sure.  She then told me "these ones are $10".  When I asked what it was for, I was informed that it to help cover costs for a 15-year-old Ohio girl who has cancer. Her father lost his job and her mother's job doesn't provide health insurance so they didn't have money for her treatment.  I bought two and would have bought more if I could have afforded it.

I have been unable to get this family out of my mind ever since.

What is wrong with our country that a family who apparently did everything they were supposed to do now have to fundraise in order to get their child the healthcare they need?  I remembered when I was about 13 in the mid-70's and there were coffee cans at various neighborhood businesses to raise money for the family of kid named Joey Conroy who had cancer.  I remember a group of kids in the neighborhood went door-to-door to raise money.  He died later that year and I remember how it affected the kids of the neighborhood.  We weren't so innocent anymore.  One of us died because he got sick and couldn't AFFORD to get better.

I hadn't thought about Joey Conroy in at least 30 years until I bought those raffle tickets yesterday.  It is INSANE that in the freakin' UNITED STATES OF AMERICA that hardworking people have to depend on the kindness of strangers to determine whether or not their sick child gets the treatment needed.  30 freakin' years and there are STILL coffee cans around America raising $ for sick citizens to get HEALTH CARE.

I believe the family has ENOUGH stress to deal with trying to come to terms that their child has CANCER and now has to find out how to fundraise to get help.

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Comment Preferences

  •  yep just about a can in every store around here (11+ / 0-)

    for kids whose parents who may actually have health insurance but it is the sort with the high deductible because either they or their employer cannot afford more complete policies.  HCR has now reached the point that even people with insurance are unable to save enough to afford to cover the deductibles and copays while bankruptcy is no longer the shield it was meant to be to ensure that people would not live in economic bondage for the balance of their lives.

    Yep, slavery is back in style

  •  We just bought raffle tickets too (4+ / 0-)

    For a school family who has given a lot to our community over the years. The father is battling advanced cancer, recently discovered. They will be $50,000 short to pay for the treatment he needs (at a minimum).

    Oh, did I mention they do have health insurance?

    Our system is so wrong in so many ways. And when you think of the families who don't have the community support and connections to put together fundraiser after fundraiser, or who just can't make themselves reach out, or who don't have 10 or 12 good friends willing to do the work of fundraising . . . those poor people are going into debt, mortgaging the house, going without treatment. At the time when you need to be able to hug your kids and be with your loved ones, you're having to scramble for cash. It is heartbreaking and no one should ever have to go through it, and any one of us may be the next one to have to go through it.

    •  It's crazy (3+ / 0-)

      I live in Pittsburgh and the only reason I even KNOW about this kid is that my coworker's son has a camp next door to the grandparents of the child in Ohio.  Her son took 5 books of 10 (worth $500) to help sell.  My coworker asked her son "why did you take so many--they are going to be hard to sell at $10 each" and he said he would sell what he could and then give the remaining balance of what he owes so he can give them the $500.  He said that he had to do all he can because he has three healthy kids and couldn't imagine going thru this with his kids.

      I told my friend she raised a hell of a son!!

  •  My former landlady and a group of her friends (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HeyMikey, peregrine kate

    have been relentlessly fundraising for over a year now because one of them has a son who needs a kidney transplant.  The amount of money they need to raise is a daunting figure, especially when their only sources of money are charity pizza dinners, bake sales, raffles, garage sales, and whatever else they can dream up.

    I admire their passion and dedication and have contributed when I could.  And it so angers me that things are as they are.  The sociopathic indifference of the conservative movement and their fellow travelers to the plight of their neighbors is hard to fathom.  We need fundamental change in this country, and we need to ignore the clueless screams of "COMMUNIST!" every time we try to implement incremental change.  The degree to which the GOP is able to keep Democratic voters away from voting in November will determine much.  They are in an increasingly minority position, but through stealth and dishonesty hope to retain political control in the House and possibly take the Senate.  

    And while the Democrats haven't been that much better than the Republicans, we need to avoid losing more ground to the right.  We need a Congress in 2013 that will revisit health care to strengthen our system, not to dismantle the initial reforms.  Ultimately we need Medicare for all, government paid tuition, and drastically lower physician compensation.  Doctors are not gods - another vestige of our authoritarian conditioning.

    Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

    by kbman on Fri May 18, 2012 at 10:25:58 AM PDT

  •  Heartbreaking and impossibly wrong. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HeyMikey, peregrine kate
  •  Worth 1,000 CBO analyses. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peregrine kate, Calamity Jean

    This is the real argument for universal healthcare.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Fri May 18, 2012 at 11:02:00 AM PDT

  •  Do the Republicans who buy these tickets see any (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peregrine kate, Calamity Jean

    irony that these families have to go begging to save their children for healthcare coverage that Republicans consistently vote against?  

    The Republican attitude toward these kids is that they are going to die anyway, what difference does it make if they are 82 years old or 12, they are all going to die eventually?  No one ever puts it in those terms, but that is what Republican vote for.

    And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

    by MrJersey on Fri May 18, 2012 at 12:05:52 PM PDT

  •  I know about this problem from first-hand (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    experience. I have advanced cancer, and I lost my job shortly after diagnosis (not a coincidence) just over a year ago. We now pay for our family health insurance coverage out of pocket, to a tune of $1500/month, and we have at least $800/month in non-covered medical costs.

    I'm not a kid myself, but I have two of them, one still in high school. And you'd better believe it has been hell for her to have her mother so sick.

    Somehow, we've been making it month-to-month despite having lost half our household income since this time last year. But we're starting to strategize about fundraising (direct appeals and events) to come up with what we estimate is a $20K shortfall over the next 15 months, till I qualify for Medicare.

    Yes, it sucks to be a person with serious, life-threatening illness in this country. It's simply and profoundly wrong that we don't get the health care we need. All of us. It is a right, not a luxury.

    I'm going to NN next month in part to network with people involved in health care activism and advocacy. If there are other stories you think I should know, please send them along to me. Thanks.

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