• Last modified 3550 days ago (Aug. 6, 2009)


It's time to chip in

Lost among the calculus and rhetoric of President Obama’s health-care proposals is the human face of health care in a recession-racked nation.

We can’t tell you what to think about the administration’s proposals. The spin and counter-spin are so convoluted we’re left reeling, with little more than slogans to debate.

What we can offer is one human face: that of 15-year-old Thane Hurst, the Hillsboro High School golfer with a rare, slow-growing benign cancer on his spinal cord that could cause permanent paralysis if untreated.

We’ll admit right away that we’re biased. Thane’s mom, Ginger, is our trusted and capable bookkeeper. For today’s purposes, however, she and her family also are the poster people for what the politicians in Washington are talking about these days.

As Ginger’s employer, we’ve tried to do what we can — granting her unquestioned leave (often with pay), guaranteeing her job (hiring a temporary worker to do so), even helping transfer Thane from public health insurance to our private plan because it alone would allow access to the top specialist needed for the extraordinarily delicate surgery he will receive Friday.

Ginger’s boss, Susan Berg, arranged a charity golf tournament to benefit the family. She’s also the one who put all the duct-taped donation containers in area stores.

Thane’s parents are good and proud people. They probably wouldn’t let us say what we’re about to say if they hadn’t already left to take their son to Johns Hopkins for surgery.

They need your help.

Insurance covers only so much. The family, like many, has been hurt by recession and by the time both parents have had to spend away from work — a problem that may have cost Thane’s dad his job.

They’ve had tough times before, so bankruptcy isn’t an option. And because they recently moved from Peabody to Hillsboro, with both parents working in other towns, they don’t have as strong a network of neighbors as others might.

Forget for a minute the politics of health care and recession in America. Think only of Thane and his family and how there, but by the grace of God, go we all.

Many tragedies in this world we can’t change. We can’t bring back the two teens who so needlessly died on our unpaved rural roadways last month. But we can help this one family.

Make Friday, while Thane is undergoing surgery, Thane Hurst Day in Marion County. Visit Emprise Bank in Hillsboro or any of the stores with donation containers and do what your heart tells you.

We can’t solve the nation’s ills. We can’t bring back lost souls. But together we can make life just a bit easier for a family that could really use our help.

— Eric Meyer

Last modified Aug. 6, 2009