Worse than losing a child

I taught a hip hop class second semester last year.

Damien was one of the kids in it. He was a neat kid.

At the end of the year, 6th grade promoted, and he moved on to junior high.

Except he only went to two days (and that’s only because my district started already).

As the result of a medical condition I was unfamiliar with, last week Damien seized, hemorrhaged, and had a stroke. He underwent emergency surgery to relieve swelling on his brain and, as of Thursday night, he is brain dead.

I can’t imagine what his mom is going through right now.

In addition to dealing with that, she has two other children whose daily needs persist, as well as their new emotional needs as a result of this trauma to their family.

What could be worse?

Well, because it’s the United States, the injury is compounded by medical bills. Damien was treated at two local children’s hospitals (once as where they chose to go, once to the closest available), so they’ll bill her separately.

This post isn’t because they’re friends of mine (I’ve never met his mom and haven’t yet taught either of his siblings). It’s because I’m angry, and because my heart weeps for this woman.

Another. Fucking. GoFundMe. For medical bills.

What is wrong with us that this is OK?

I know four people quickly off the top of my head who had these to help with their cancer expenses. Those are just people I know personally.

I’ve seen countless others in my virtual path.

I could rant for a long time about this, but I’m not sure that waving my tiny fist online makes a difference. But I add my name to petitions. I add my support to people in and out of government who are working to change this system. And I encourage you to do the same.

Before you need a GoFundMe.

Before your illness or death in your family is exponentially worsened by medical bills.

(Or just because you have empathy.)

If you have a few bucks burning a hole in your pocket and would like to share them with Damien’s mom, click here to go to her GoFundMe. You can also learn there what the unfamiliar-to-me medical condition was.

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