I lived in Turkey for 3 years while I was growing up.
Not on a military base, mind you, but in an apartment building where most of our neighbors were Turks.
Living on the economy in Turkey is much different than living anywhere in the US.
Not that I’ve lived everywhere in the US, but you get my drift.
Each morning as we stood to wait for the school bus to take us to school (which was on a military base) I would watch as a woman and her young child would come up to the apartment garbage cans and forage for food for both herself and her daughter.
In Turkey there wasn’t a food stamp, Medicaid or any other kind of public assistance programs for the poor to turn to.
I would watch as some would go out of their way to make sure they didn’t have to cross this woman’s path.
I would watch as some would pick up rocks to throw not only at the mother, but at her young daughter too.
And I would wonder why people hated a mother who was trying to feed her child.
Poverty isn’t anything new in countries like Turkey. You couldn’t walk more than a block or two before coming across a beggar hoping for a Lira. While these poor souls were more likely to get spit on before they found charity, I would watch as more often than not, my parents would stop and give from their pocketbooks.
Then I would watch as our well to do Turkish friends would tell my parents not to give to these people. That by giving them anything my parents were only making the problem worse.
Although how life for a man with no legs sitting on a wheeled board begging for food could really get much worse was something I spent a lot of time worrying about.
While our experiences with fundraising for Parker has been overwhelmingly positive, we too, have taken a few hits in this regard by people who are sure that they would never be found in a situation like ours or simply refuse to believe that in the US people loose everything they own trying to keep a child alive.
(And while many are celebrating the passing of Health Care Reform, Utah is one of the states fighting against it. I’ve got an email into my local legislative Rep trying to find out how this will all play out in our great state.)
But I was really surprised when I read about Lauren Fitzgerald and her severely disabled son, Alex.
T-Mobile approached the Fitzgerald family about putting up a stealth cell phone tower on part of their 10 acres of land. Â A place where the pole would not be seen by any neighbors.
Revenue from this tower would go towards Alex’s current needs as well as a special needs trust to care for Alex after his parents are gone.
The moment word of this got out the Fitzgerald’s neighbors and the community as a whole, immediately began to rally against it.
Parents of his peers have gone so far as to circulate a petition in his middle school last week, in an attempt to stop the project. It was unclear if the school had knowledge of or had given permission for such a petition to be distributed during a school-sponsored event.
It became clear that aesthetic concerns over what is supposed to be a stealth pole that will be completely hidden by trees, was more important than the quality of life of a neighborhood child.
â€œItâ€™s the folks around here who donâ€™t know us who are trying to hurt us,â€ stated Fitzgerald. â€œThis pole will barely be visible, or at most, look like a skinny tree trunk. I guess in their minds, the hardship of having to look at a benign pole trumps the hardship that my son faces on a daily basis. We are only trying to provide our son with the life and future that he deserves; the kind of life that our neighbors with healthy children take for granted. Once upon a time, communities came together to help children like my son. It appears those days are gone.â€
What do you think?
Would your community come together to help a child such as Alex?
Have you ever had to fundraise to provide for your child’s overwhelming medical needs?
ps:Â want to read more about this? click here