“Better living through chemistry.”
“Thank God we have health insurance!”
Those were two things I said to my husband as we drove home along Interstate 35 in August 1998. We had just come from Children’s Mercy Hospital, where the good doctors there had just confirmed a Turner Syndrome (TS) diagnosis for our 10-year-old daughter.
TS can cause a variety of medical and developmental problems, including short stature, heart defects, and failure of ovaries to develop. Girls with TS require medical care from a variety of specialists, and frequent doctor visits are the norm. Short stature can be treated with lab-derived human growth hormone, which is why I made the tongue-in-cheek chemistry comment.
But growth hormone therapy is expensive, and that is why I was so relieved to have insurance coverage.
And that thought—thank God we have health insurance—was a recurring one throughout my journey of raising a daughter with TS, and it has remained so even now that she is on her own.
I regularly reflect on how fortunate I am to have access to good health care and health insurance coverage; through our medical journey, I have met many people without access to either. It’s easy and terrifying to see how quickly illness and medical costs can ruin lives without health insurance. We are all just one step away from that.
That knowledge and our own medical journey ignited my desire to help others who are experiencing life without health care and insurance.
Before I started at the Foundation, I enjoyed a career in the for-profit sector. A few years ago, I was looking for a change and started researching what work was like in the nonprofit world. In August 2016 I decided to serve for one year with AmeriCorps so that I could experience life, service, and work in a nonprofit sector setting — what better way to research than to just dive right in! I often refer to that year as my “nonprofit school.” The experience was life-changing, and it made me realize that I love interacting with people and enjoy serving in a nonprofit organization.
The opportunity to be part of the process of helping the uninsured and underserved access health care is one reason I am delighted to join the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City as its receptionist and governance and operations assistant.
One month in, and I am enjoying my work at the Foundation. I’ve learned much about foundation governance and operations; grant proposals; external grant reviews; and grant administration. The amount of transparency and communication that guides its processes is amazing. I am proud to be associated with HCF and the work we are doing. I am also thrilled to be the first person our visitors will see when they enter our HCF offices, and the first person they will speak to when calling HCF.
Meeting people and hearing their stories, struggles, and triumphs is something that I enjoy. I look forward to meeting more Foundation visitors and stakeholders.