Best-Laid Plans, Bad Days, and Invisible Illness

The Plan

Kathy and I planned to meet before we worked today to record a short video of our friendship and why we’re doing this. A couple of hours before we were to start, Kathy texted me to let me know that she wasn’t feeling well enough to do so. 

Kathy’s heart disease is an invisible illness. If you were to look at her without knowing her, you would think she’s healthy. Her skin glows and she moves with confidence and grace. You might write off her exhaustion as a “bad day”. The problem with invisible illnesses is that there are a lot of bad days. A lot of bad days. Maybe we’ll get it done tomorrow. Maybe not. In the meantime, Kathy needs to live her life and I do what I can to help. 

The Background

It’s not fair, what is happening to Kathy. At the prime of her life, she is desperately fundraising just to be placed on the waiting list for a medically necessary heart. She didn’t develop a bad heart because of something she did or didn’t do, she developed it because of a random virus she caught in her 20s. Nearly ten years ago, when we first met, even with a heart condition, she was in better shape than I was. She dragged me to the gym three or four mornings a week to work out. I was in the best shape of my life, thanks to her. 

She has done all the right things. She got good grades as a child, went to college, further advanced her career by getting a graduate degree. Kathy does good work and has always been there for her family and friends.  Because we have a system that pays social workers just barely above poverty wages and expects them to repay student loans on that, she was unable to save enough money before she retired as disabled. 

The Plea

Twenty thousand dollars. That’s the difference between life and death for Kathy. $20K. How much of that is because the CEO of her insurance is buying a second or third yacht? How much of it is because the CEO of the pharmaceutical company who makes the anti-rejection drugs is buying yet another multi-million-dollar mansion? 

Sure, someone or many someones might work together to get $20K for Kathy, in time. That will be a happy ending for her, a feel-good story. And that’s why I’m writing this. But I’m also writing for the millions of Americans who don’t have best friends who are stubborn writers with a modicum of talent and a lot of nerve who are going to go to bat for her. I’m writing for the Americans trapped in our health care system that don’t have a quilting and crafting group prepared to spend hundreds or thousands of collective hours raising money for them. 

If you can, donate to Kathy’s GoFundMe today or sign up to help her with the initial anti-rejection drugs plus the ones she will need for the rest of her life at her PayPal account. Even if you can’t, pass this on, and help us work so that this campaign to save Kathy’s life is one of the last medical funding campaigns ever needed in America. Work to make our health care system work for all of us, not just the wealthiest among us. 

Thank you. 

Jenni Liles



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