by Madeline Nyblade
I am proud to be part of this student body that financially and emotionally supports Four Diamonds Children and their families. From firsthand experience, I know this generosity means the world to these families, especially the life-long relationships with THON orgs. So, it is out of my awe and appreciation for all that these organizations do for families, students, and the community, that I urge THON to go further. I challenge THON to address and discuss the root causes of this philanthropic need: the healthcare system in the United States.
Healthcare policy is incredibly complicated but also vitally important because it influences a family’s ability to pay for their child’s cancer treatment. THON provides financial assistance to families who need additional support, but does not raise the question: Why do we have a system where families struggle to afford the highest quality care for their children? Why, for that matter, do we have a system where people of all ages have trouble paying for the best medical care for themselves and for their loved ones?
I don’t know the answers to these questions and I am not at all suggesting that THON lobby congress to influence health care policy. But I am suggesting that THON generate discussions about national healthcare policy grounded not in partisan politics but in our common value for providing care for children suffering from cancer. Healthcare is a difficult subject, polarized by recent politics, but the need for all children to receive financial and emotional support when faced with pediatric cancer transcends all reasons not to engage in this conversation.
I challenge THON org leaders to facilitate open-minded, informed discussions with their members about healthcare in the United States so students have the opportunity to develop their own opinions. I challenge the THON director to start this conversation through a public forum. I challenge the THON outreach team to not only reach out for donations, but to reach out to representatives and senators to share THON’s core values with respect to healthcare. But most importantly, I challenge everyone involved in THON to consider how the core values of THON translate to what is needed in national healthcare. Perhaps THON could find ways to stimulate helpful dialogue and action on this issue.