Three years ago I almost died. Thanks to Trump, the fight isn’t over.
Three years ago today, the government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act had begun and an open letter I had written to my elected officials had begun to go viral on CNN. I was actively ill — actively dying — and just hoping for elected officials to do their jobs so I could get the treatment I desperately needed. That’s what my piece on CNN was about.
Nasty comments had started to flood in—on Facebook, and Twitter, and in the comment section of CNN. People were writing to say they thought I was selfish, and that they hoped I died, and that people like me (sick people just trying to live) were ruining America.
Things had gotten so intensely bad that, after crying to a friend for two hours, I had gone on a social media fast to avoid it all. But then the most beautiful, perfectly timed thing happened, all thanks to someone I’d never met.
A woman in New York — a complete stranger — looked up the contact information for where I worked, and called me, just to tell me she was lighting a candle in my name and praying for me, asking that I be given the strength to hold out until the government shutdown ended and I could get my treatment.
That phone call was what got me through, for the next 16 days, in pain and not sure if there was going to be a light at the end of the tunnel. That stranger in New York reminded that there were good people out there, and they were listening to me. And then, at nearly midnight on the sixteenth day, the news broke that Republicans had backed down, the shutdown was ending, and the ACA was being implemented.
I’ll never forget how I felt in that moment. The memory of that relief, of knowing that it was going to be ok—that I was going to be ok—still makes me cry when I think about it. In that moment I knew that there were people out there on my side —people that loved and cared about me, even if they didn’t know me — and they were louder, and stronger, and more resilient than the people that didn’t, the people that had apathy or hatred in their hearts.
Three years later, on the Hillary Clinton campaign in Ohio, that moment is what I think about when I get tired, or stressed, or feel like it’s all too much. Because there are millions of people out there today, afraid for their lives just like I was three years ago — only this time it’s because of the color of their skin, or their religion or sexuality. Those people are in as much danger from a Trump presidency as I was from the government shutdown. And I want to make sure that on November 8, they have that special moment and know — we’re out here, we’re listening, and we love them, even if we don’t know them.
If you’ve made it this far, I hope you’ll consider joining me and helping fight for the millions of Americans that need us to listen to them. You can sign-up to join here.