Monday, July 13, 2009

Gary at the Dairy Queen in Lisbon, Ohio

Gary at the Dairy Queen in Lisbon, Ohio
Originally uploaded by walk4healthcare

For the past eleven years, Gary has had Type I diabetes (insulin-dependent diabetes). Up until recently, he has never had insurance. But thankfully, “the doctors have taken care of me,” he said. He did tell me about a knee operation that cost him about $10,000. “But now,” he said, “his wife has a job, which comes with insurance, and so I’m covered.”

Help me take your healthcare message to Washington!

Thank you for your support of the Walk For Healthcare (@walk4healthcare & on FB). We are at a critical point in the walk, more than halfway, building momentum, regular local media coverage at every town I walk through. But this walk would not be possible without your help – moral, organizational, and financial.

Please know that your supportive notes are much valued. Walking twelve (or more) hours a day AND hearing tales of despair & misery is not easy. Your support gives me strength to continue. And the stories that I share with the wider world --- on Twitter and on the blog also compel me to continue. It has been a privilege to be able to share these stories. And share I must because healthcare is about people and the voice of the people is what Congress must hear rather than the cash-laden, self-interested pleas of special interest lobbyists. To share these stories is my obligation and I hope, as you believe in healthcare for all, that it is your obligation too.

So: please get the word out NOW! I say now, because the Walk is closing fast on DC – on schedule to arrive on Sunday, July 26th. There is very little time to build the critical mass necessary to deliver this message with the force and intensity it deserves. So … please RT (on Twitter), invite friends to the FB group, email your network, contact your Representatives & Senators, reach out to media contacts you have.

I will be in Pittsburgh on Thursday, July 16th. This will be the big turning point. The Appalachian mountains to follow will be challenging and already a strong supporter (based in Mansfield, OH) has volunteered to follow in a trail car which will facilitate the logistics and enable me to focus on walking and meeting people. This will cost about $2,000 (rental car, lodging, meals). Medicines (antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen) ironically have been the most expensive part of my portion of the trip. So, we are talking about a Walk that’ll cost about $3,000. It is important to get donations now—today—in order to ensure success. Keep in mind that this few thousand has the potential to serve as a significant counterweight to the tens of millions of dollars (and more) that special interest lobbyists are spending to thwart significant healthcare reform. So, if you donate $5, the power of that is magnified into something like $50,000!! It costs $10 worth of medicines to keep me moving for one day. Don’t assume someone else will take up the challenge. Commit yourself.

The week before the walk – when I had decided to do it – I said to myself, “Perhaps someone else will walk for healthcare reform.” Again, it is easy to think that someone else will take up the challenge. Please lead the way and support the Walk today (by spreading the word, walking alongside – follow the GPS tracking on, and through your generous financial support. It is easy to donate via PayPal. Simply click on this secure PayPal link here:

I close with a story. At the Ft. Wayne rally (where nearly 40 people showed up in support of healthcare reform – from all parts of the policy debate) Jessica (pictured with the sign) and her two sons – Noah and Chris – showed up to support the Walk and substantial healthcare reform more generally. Both Jessica and her husband are from Elkhart, recently laid off and without health insurance. Their two sons are fortunate to be covered by Medicaid. Looking at me with shy, but earnest eyes, Noah handed me $10 to help me on my way. Here I am shaking Chris’ hand, too, as the two young boys, encouraged along by their beaming mother, Jessica, felt overcame their inhibitions to reach out to me. I was deeply touched. And I could not, at all, refuse the money, both because it would be impolite in the face of such a genuine gesture and also because the $10 could very well save the walk down the line – with a purchase of sunblock, or an emergency water bottle that was not donated, etc. It was very humbling for me to see a family (like many others they have given consent for me to share their stores) in the throes of financial challenge reach out and embrace a wider vision of the world. Please join them in enabling one small contribution to what we hope will be a healthcare for all and, for us all, a better world.

Please don’t let down all the people who have found hope and inspiration with this Walk. Please donate today.

Thanks again!