Gathering to Remember 123 Deaths Daily
from Lack of Health Coverage
5:30 p.m. Arrive
6:00 p.m. Gathering Begins
Tuesday October 20
Lawn in Front of the
Lexington Theological Seminary
631 S. Limestone
Free & open to all.
Click here to view the event flyer. Please print & post it!
Please join with other Kentuckians, both inside and outside of faith communities, who realize lack of healthcare is a moral issue that is too often a matter of life and death. Tuesday evening we will gather on the lawn of the Lexington Theological Seminary to remember the 45,000 Americans who die annually (123 each day) due to having inadequate or no healthcare coverage. This event is one of hundreds across the US on 10/20 observing the National Day of Remembrance and Hope that has been called by the national interfaith coalition, Faithful Reform in Health Care. Gatherings for the same day have also by a coalition of other groups including Consumers Union, Families USA, HCAN (Health Care for America Now), Organizing for America, and the PICO National Network.
The event will feature 123 glowing luminaria arrange on the lawn in a grid. Each luminaria will represent one of the 123 people who die each day because of lack of health care coverage. In front of the luminaria, five persons wrapped in white shrouds and lying on the ground parallel to one another, will represent the five persons who will die during the hour our gathering. Five readers, portraying relatives of these five dead, will tell their loved ones' stories. After reading the story, each reader will slowly walk until they are standing over the shrouded person who represents their loved one, Following each reading, clergy leaders will briefly reflect on each story. Those gathered will respond in unison: "In the name of all who have died, we call for Reform in Health Care Now!"
In the event of rain, this gathering of remembrance will be held in the seminaries chapel.
The clergy participating will include: The Reverend Woody Berry, Sr. Pastor of Maxwell Street Presbyterian Church, The Reverend Donald K. Gillette, Pastor of East Second Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and The Reverend Dr. Nancy Jo Kemper, Pastor of New Union Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and Consultant for Advocacy for the Common Good.
The number of deaths was are memorializing, 45,000 annually, is from a paper by Harvard scientists that was published online 9/17/09 in the American Journal of Public Health. Click here for more information about this study.
Event organizer, Disciples of Christ minister Rev. Merry Jones explained the reason for the event: "The purpose of the National Day of Remembrance and Hope is to continue our collective efforts in drawing attention to the massive need and the moral imperative of quality health care for all. We must make our outrage at the status quo of our broken health care system known to our congressional representatives. We must speak truth to power on behalf of the moral imperative of caring for one another. The deaths of over 45,000 annually should haunt every American citizen until we all say, "Enough!" and reform health care now."
Planning committee member Katy Zatsick, a Roman Catholic lay person preparing for ministry, added: "I was struck by a recent column by Nicholas Kristof that appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader. Kristof wrote: 'allowing tens of thousands of Americans to die each year because they are uninsured is not simply unwise and unfortunate. It is a also wrong----a moral blot on a great nation.' "
Here, briefly, are highlights of the five (true) stories we will be highlighting:
A healthy 25 yr. old young woman and recent college graduate headed to New York to begin PhD studies in Art History dies after several days of trying to fight off a high fever;
A wife whose health insurance had been through her husband's architecture job dies after her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, lost his professional license, his income, and his health insurance that had covered them both. Having been a breast cancer patient, the wife was unable to continue being monitored with cancer check ups without health insurance and subsequently was diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer and died within a few months.
A mother and wife are left to grieve the loss of their son and husband, respectfully, because he had been born with a birth defect which had left him un insurable because it was treated as a pre-existing condition. Due to his family medical history, he also had the misfortune of being a likely candidate for colon cancer yet was repeatedly denied a basic colonoscopy due to lack of insurance. He died of colon cancer.
A 38 year old unemployed construction worker suffered a GI bleed. His local community hospital refused to admit him due to lack of health care insurance and supposedly expected him to go the the nearest county hospital for treatment. Upon being turned away, he bled to death in the back seat of his car.
A 55 year old electrical engineer with an MBA had successfully provided for his wife and two children until he lost his job due to downsizing. With a family history of high blood pressure and diabetes, the loss of employee health insurance created extreme stress and financial burdens. Choosing to use up his life savings to keep his family in their home and food on the table, he could no longer afford his prescription medications. He died from a massive heart attack in his wife's arms, after having spent the day searching for employment.
Central KY Chapter of Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care
Clergy & Laity Network of Kentucky
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