Sunday, September 02, 2018

Please help my friend Mark

Dear friends, you came to my need back in February, when I broke my arm, could not work, and needed financial assistance.  I remain deeply grateful for that. I could not have made it without your help.  Now I bid your fervent prayers and ask you to help my friend Mark Freeman by contributing to his page.

I live in a house that was built in 1922 by two sisters. It is a beautiful home inside and out. They designed the house so that one flat was upstairs and one downstairs. I moved into the upstairs flat about 13 years ago.  About 7 years ago, two brothers (Mark and Ronnie) moved into the downstairs flat. Over the years, we have become very good friends.  We often while away hours on their big front porch. Sundays are especially fun, as their parents also visit.  They say I have become family, and that’s how I feel. They were a huge help during my Big Trials, always ready to help me with small or large needs.

When I found employment a couple of years ago at the local Schnucks grocery store, I encouraged Mark to apply there, too. He got the job, and quickly became respected and liked for his hard work ethic and his willingness to help everyone.

Early this spring, Mark began to experience some pain as his neck swelled and swallowing became difficult.  But, like so many Americans, he did not go to the doctor. Why? Because he didn’t have health insurance. The swelling and other problems grew worse and worse, but he wouldn’t to the doctor. He didn’t have a “primary care doctor.” He didn’t want “charity.” He was holding out for this October, when he would become eligible for health insurance coverage from his job. I am tempted to digress here to talk about what the lack of affordable health coverage is doing to hard working Americans, but I will forbear.

Mark didn’t make it to October. Late in June, on an ordinary Sunday when his parents came to visit Mark and Ronnie, Mark’s problems had become too severe to wait.  They took him to the Emergency Room. As you will read on Mark’s page, things quickly escalated. First the doctors diagnosed a massive infection. Soon after, they diagnosed cancer.  Less than 4 weeks after his ER visit, they performed a massive surgery that lasted over 10 hours and have changed his body and his life forever.  The thing that most strikes me is that Mark can no longer speak in the voice we have known. They cut his head open from ear to ear to ear in order to remove the cancerous cells. In the process, they forever changed his vocal chords and more.

I can't begin to express how sad I am at what Mark has had to confront in the past several weeks.  He is showing more courage than I believe I could muster. He never complains, but continues to exhibit his wry humor.

Frankly, his brother and I wonder whether Mark can survive this.

So why should you contribute to his page? Because Mark and his brother Ronnie are poor. Although  they have worked hard, neither of them has ever held a job that provides health insurance or any other benefits. They are facing eviction soon if they cannot pay their rent.  They are facing trouble if they cannot pay their utility bills. They struggle to buy groceries. I do what I can to help them, but I can’t do enough. I am asking you friends to help them with me.


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