When you get a kid it changes your life.
Sometimes your kid takes your life into an economic tailspin.
You and your spouse might lose your jobs, your house, your sense of perspective because you have a kid that has special needs so overwhelming that everything stops.
You aren't going to trade the kid for anything. You love them too much. (Isn't love what life is about?)
So what are you going to do?
Sometimes you reach out to your community.
Sometimes the community reaches back.
The Linzey Family is one of these families. Anabelle was born with Lissencephaly. I can go into what the condition itself does to a person who has this affliction, but it really doesn't matter. What really matters is that Anabelle changed the lives of her family. They are struggling. They are winning.
Kate Linzey, Anabelle's mom, is a ball of positive energy. When you hand lemons to Kate you end up with bright walls of yellow happiness (you thought I was going to say lemonade...).
The Swarthmore United Methodist Church is one of many portions of a solid community that reached back to the Linzey Family.
On Saturday the bright walls of yellow happiness were on display inside the church as wall-to-wall people made their ways around wall-to-wall vendors who donated their time, talent and wares. (The shout-out to all of those folks lives here.)
The donations were not just for the Linzey Family, but for a foundation that helps families with special needs kids just get by: Anabelle's Wish.
That is what makes this charity a little bit different is the mission statement:
What We Do
The organization provides aid not only for uncovered medical expenses but also for additional expenditures incurred when caring for a special-needs child: filling the car with gas for frequent doctor and hospital visits, higher electric bills because of constantly-running medical equipment, additional costs incurred by hiring a nurse rather than a baby-sitter, and more. We will also make available extra spending money so that the other members of the family, parents and siblings, can enjoy some simple, but important, pleasures such as outings or a family dinner out, that they may no longer be able to afford due to the costs of caring for their special needs child.
The crux of what is going on is that Anabelle's Wish not only helps the Linzey Family, but other families as well.
It is a commentary on our society that these organizations even have to exist.
With the current talks about entitlement programs in Washington and how 'grand bargains' may cut budgets, those people wielding the knives need to look into the eyes of our fellow citizens.
Yes, Anabelle has been secured with the safety net, but only so far. If there is a case that screams out for a single-payer universal healthcare system, this is it.
Here is a raw, heartless economic argument that conservatives seem to love: because we have a system set up that employers dole out health care, we are taking good employees out of the workplace. It is tough to find a job to start with. Does an employer have the right to look at your family situation when hiring you? After all, they will be paying for your health care.
One of the folks helped by Anabelle's Wish was a mom trying to manage a terminally ill child. The mom was not on the job long enough to qualify for the Family Medical Leave Act so Anabelle's Wish threw her family a lifeline to allow the child to pass away with a little more family sanity. (Mom is back at work as the employer held the job open for her.)
Until we can have the wish of a single-payer health care system granted from a government 'of' the people, we are going to have to make wishes of families needing normalcy come true in a different manner.