Ten months Matthew came into our world. He looked very small having arrived three month early. Thanks to the caring of many people, parents, friends, doctors, nurses, and colleagues he is, today, a fat little guy with big smiles. He is also crawling. Nothing normal about this reality: compassion was woven together by so many people as they saw in this little person a chance for life.
Also, this year Mary got her first glasses in forty years, thanks to our Navigators and the friends at St. Vincent de Paul. The smile on Mary’s face stretches across all of Over the Rhine. Cliff, a spry 75 year old, is also grateful for having his teeth cleaned and appreciative of the dentists at the Cincinnati Health Clinic for such good care. He a glad citizen of the West End. Barbara, overcoming her fear, trusting a Navigator, had her first breast exam in 30 years. No cancer was found and a great sigh of relief was heard throughout Northside.
All of these wonderful events were kind of a birth. We witnessed the new experience of peace in people who had little hope that medical care would be available. Trusting Navigators, they were transported to a new experience: respectful healthcare. Throughout the city of Cincinnati we meet people who smile at us with a kind of delight as they now know that we are just a part of their beginning a solid relationship with a physician, a nurse, a physical therapist, a dentist, and a community health care worker. Like Matthew, they have been invited into a community of compassionate action. They all have friends that are linked to them as guides to present and future health problems and concerns. Navigators have formed partnerships, a kind of hug, that supports and cherishes the whole person. We are all growing in this community of love, grateful for the support of so many “grand folk” like OKI, Congregation of St. Joseph, Over the Rhine Senior Center, North Church-CAIN, First United Church of Christ, Christ Church Cathedral, Booth Retirement Community, St. Paul’s Village, the Cincinnati Health Department, St. Vincent de Paul, and Crossroad Health Center.
Matthew, Mary, Cliff, and Barbara have reminded us about how fragile life is and how important it is to take action for health when we can. Very sadly, we attended the annual event that remembers the homeless people that have died this year. Organized by the The Homeless Coalition, we stood in a circle in Washington Park and read over 100 names of people who died this year. One was a child of two. How many died because they couldn’t reach out to a Navigator, or that they didn’t know warning signs of ill health, or that they just had no one to help them on their efforts to stay alive? This year we want to increase our efforts to reach seniors who have had little or no health care, and touch base with people with disabilities that might want to see a dentist, and with people who are poor and need an eye exam and glasses. We know that with greater effort, we can reach even more of our friends who are lost and confused about how to navigate our health care system. We want to celebrate life for more and more people, helping them find their first “steps” to kind health care.
If you can, please send a check to Cancer Justice Network, 4129 Georgia Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45223. We can expand the circle of hope with your continued help. Thank you.
Read about the latest progress we are making as a Cancer Justice Network.