Saturday, July 05, 2008

Extreme Makeovers

There was another story in the NY Times last week about an extreme makeover that caught the public attention, as if they don't as a matter of course. This particular story was about a woman, a former correctional officer, who took on her sister's ten children after her sister died of cancer and the dad disappeared. Felicia Jackson had four children of her own, which brought the tally to 14.

Jackson's sister Cassandra died in 2004. In an interview, 'Jackson was plain-spoken about her life since then. "We've been moving every year to a different house," she said. "I had to resign from my job with the government. And I got divorced."'

Whenever I see or hear stories like this one, my immediate reaction is what a good thing for EM to do, and for the building company to absorb the whole cost themselves. There was another EM a few months back about a young family with 3 or 4 kids all of whom had the same rare disease, which drove the dad to study for medical school at night after he finished work so that he could find a cure for his sick children, when there was a hospital right in Pittsburgh halfway across the country with the best specialists in his kids' disease.

After the emotional hit of all those nice EM people helping out, and the pathos of the story they find (they get about 1,000 requests a week, apparently), I find myself critical of a "system" that we the people have created whereby people fall through cracks every day of the week. In the sick children's case, why aren't the Extreme Makeover people making the link between the failing American health care system and the fact that a dad is trying to reinvent the wheel? In the case of the single mom with 14 kids -- where are those dads? where is the community? why was that mother left languishing with 14 kids, having to be one step ahead of the rent police?

It's wonderful that EM took them on, and I'm not criticizing them at all, just feeling a little helpless when I see unmonitored tragedy going on.

1 comment:

Gorilla Bananas said...

We gorillas revere Darwin as the great father of primate brotherhood.