WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America
WHO CARES: Chronic Illness in America

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James Locke
Montgomery, AL

I was first diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at the age of 25. Having just finished my B.F.A. in Graphic Design, I had begun my career as a graphic artist for a design firm in Washington D.C. Having been fully insured through my parents and the university I had attended, I was now led to believe that I was fully covered under my then-current employer. Well, after a series of trips to the emergency room with intestinal obstructions but no diagnosis, I was forced to leave my job and move home with my parents. I then went six months before I had to go to the emergency room again. It was then that I discovered that my insurance had never been activated at my former job and now I quickly became uninsurable and in dire need of surgery. My family paid what they could.

Five years later I needed another surgery and managed to get Catholic Services to foot the bill for the surgery, but not for the surgeon or the doctors. I am now a 40 year-old male whose since been diagosed with Bipolar Disorder. Without any form of centralized medicine or health care, I'm still at the mercy of emergency rooms. I feel as though my most productive years have been robbed from me. Not just because of the chronic illnesses but because of a system that refuses to accept the fact that certain individuals lose their medical coverage, leaving them to fight not just their debilitating diseases, but the ensuing financial ruin that then accompanies them. And a short-sighted public doesn't understand that my medical costs (as essentially an indigent) are then passed on to them as consumers.

America: Compassion. I've been employed since I was 16 and have struggled thoughout my illnesses to keep working. I'm told I don't even qualify for Social Security Disability.

Zoe Albright, Stroke
Betty Bennett, Kidney Disease
Roxanne Bedford-Curbow, Seizures
Valerie Brekke, Fibromyalgia
Lily Casura, Chronic Fatigue
Billie Davis, Peripheral Neuropathy
Penny Day, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Julia DeJesus, Seizure Disorder
MS Patient, Fairfax, VA
Charisse Farmer, Hydrocephalus
Katherine Fielder, Chronic Pain
Zoe Francis, Juvenile Diabetes
James Hines, Hemochromatosis
William Holford, Emphysema
Nancy K, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Patricia Lawson, Natural Rubber Latex Allergy
James Locke, Crohn's Disease
Gary Maslow, various
Kathy Matthews, Parkinson's
Andrea Meyer, MS
Gina Owens, Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome
Alicia Salas, Chronic Pain
Allison Scott, Chronic Pain
Deborah Serrano, Stroke
Becky Shively, Phenylketonuria
Jennifer Smallin, Type I Diabetes
Joanna Southerland, Diabetes
Alina Valdes, Cystic Fibrosis
Elizabeth Wertz, Seizures

Jose Pedro Greer, Physician
W.F. Nagle, Physician
Ronda Riebman, Exercise
Cathleen Schilling, Case Manager
Jim Sykes

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