Monday, December 17, 2012

Blog Therapy

Dear Readers,

The injustices and tragedies of the past several weeks have weighed heavily on my heart.  While I am not the victim of these events which I am blogging about today, these victims are a part of the largest minority which I am also a member.  (For those who are unaware, people with disabilities make up the largest minority in the world.)  As an advocate and activist for disability rights issues and as a person who was born a member of the disabled community, it is not humanly possible for me not to feel these victim's pain.  Specifically, I am referring to Robert Moldenhauer, Jenny Hatch, and those who recently lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Robert Moldenhauer is a teenage boy with Autism who is in need of a kidney transplant.  A hospital on the other side of the country from where the Moldenhauer family lives, agreed to treat Robert when no other facility would.  A kind stranger who just happened to be a perfect match, has offered to gift one of his kidneys to Robert.  Everything seemed to be falling perfectly into place until the family's insurance provider, Physicians Plus, refused to pay for the operation because they are seeking treatment out of state.  The transplant costs $250,000.  Considering the needed organ is being donated, I really don't understand why this medically necessary surgery should cost this much.  Also, should a price-tag really be put on a child's life?  To my knowledge, there is no resolution in sight on this issue which means a rather grim prognosis for Robert.  

Another member of the disabled community who I have lost sleep over recently is, Jenny Hatch.  She is a 28 year-old woman who has Down Syndrome yet, is very high functioning.  She has had the same part-time job at a thrift store for over four years which she gets herself to independently.  She has her own bank account, friends, and personal interests.  For reasons that are not my business to discuss, she has been living with friends instead of her Mother/Guardian.  Sad but true, biological family is not always the best option in granting such responsibilities to.  Against Jenny's wishes, her Mother was able to send Jenny away from all that she knows and take away her support system.  Jenny is basically being held captive in a group home against her will.  How can this happen in the United States?  Jenny knows who loves her and will support her in taking care of herself.  Why doesn't her voice matter?  Love makes a family...not DNA!  I would lose my mind if I was removed from my home against my wishes and I don't have an intellectual disability.  Her next court date is a couple months away so Jenny will not be spending the holidays with her loved ones.

The other's who's suffering I feel are all those who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary School last week, as well as those they left behind.  I strongly believe that this horrific incident was the result of someone else's improperly treated mental illness.  By choice, I am not a mother.  Therefor, I'm not going to post anything entitled "I am Adam Lanza's Mother."  Although, I could write a post describing what it's like to be one of his siblings.  The mother who authored the aforementioned article has sadly gotten a lot of negative response from a variety of groups and individuals.  I respect everyone's right to express their opinions weather I agree with them or not.  However, if you have never been afraid that you'd be murdered in your sleep by a member of your household, then you are not qualified to pass judgement on this woman.  There is an old saying that goes something like this, "Until you've walked a mile in a man's shoes then shut the fuck up about how he handles his business."  What our time and energy really needs to be focused on is helping families who are being affected by mental illness so that tragedies like this won't happen again.  We need more discussions, more compassion, and less judgement.

Peace, Freedom, and Good Health to you All...


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