Imagine for a moment being laid off from your job of 20 years and losing medical coverage for your family. Then imagine that your wife, stricken with ovarian cancer, is fighting for her very life. What would you do?
Faced with that very scenario, Bill Caudle took the only option left to him. He enlisted in the Army to take advantage of the health insurance, which kicked in once he left for basic training. Mr. Caudle, at 39 years-old, is now obligated to the Army for the next 4 years. A few years ago it couldn’t have happened, but in recent years the enlistment age has been raised to 42.
Just when his loved ones need his presence, his strength, and his moral support the most, this American husband and father will be absent. In what most certainly had to be a gut-wrenching decision, Bill Caudle sacrificed that role in order to see that his wife’s medical needs would be met as she battles — for the third time — a form of cancer that kills almost 15,000 women in the United States each year.
It was a matter of life and death.
Bill Caudle is one of a growing number of people to join the military for the health care package that comes with it. Between the proverbial rock and hard place, he did what needed to be done. But not all of the 14,000 people who are losing their health insurance every day can do the same. Not all are healthy enough or young enough themselves; not all are married to someone who is.
According to the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal, Bill and Michelle Caudle paid little attention to the raging battle over health care reform this year and have no desire to become activists for the cause. One can hardly blame them; they’ve got plenty on their plate as it is.
They did not seek the spotlight, but the Caudle family’s story speaks volumes.
Bill Caudle serves his country and his family while Michelle Caudle fights for her life, their 3 children carrying on as best they can. Meanwhile in Washington, partisan politics goes on as usual and health care reform remains a political football, with precious little concern for the lives at stake.
Health care reform can no longer wait…
About ovarian cancer: In 2009, approximately 21,550 women in the United States will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and 14,500-15,000 of them will lose their lives to this silent killer. Unfortunately, because the signs and symptoms can be subtle, many women do not seek help until the cancer has spread.
In 2007, Congress approved Johanna’s Law that awarded three year’s worth of funding to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to increase awareness of the symptoms of gynecologic cancers. But the funding is about to run out. You can help fight ovarian cancer by urging your representative to become a co-sponsor the the reauthorization of Johanna’s Law: The Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act. Sign the petition: Bring Awareness to Ovarian Cancer.
Connect with me on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo
Photo: Wout J Reinders