The First Day of Our Journey

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We set out today with the well wishes of a great city behind us. At the capital, folks from all walks shared their health care stories with Dawn and we began collecting messages of support in pill bottles — the hallmark of our journey and how we will make CIGNA hear our voice.

On the Capital steps we heard from politicians and everyday Atlantans, all who recognized what needs to be done. We then went to visit the office of Senator Johnny Isakson, whose office staff offered to arrange a meeting with him when we arrive in DC — hopefully he will recognize it as well, and stand with her when we reach DC. With the wind at our backs, we slogged through rush hour Atlanta and then took side roads through the Chattahoochee National Forest on our way to Asheville.

The foothills of the Appalachian mountains swept by as we rumbled towards Asheville, and we got another glimpse about why we’re taking this on. We live in a beautiful, big country that deserves better from its health care system, and which can do better for its citizens.

Arriving in Atlanta

Today Dawn’s traveling companions arrived in Atlanta to join her on her trip to Philadelphia to face CIGNA. On board, will be myself (Duncan) and Andrew, who will be organizing our traveling basics, Lance who will be filming the trip, and Ryan who will assist Dawn with her medical needs. We came together knowing that we’re at a crucial moment for Dawn and for America. Dawn’s decision to make the journey to CIGNA to demand that she get the health care she deserves shows exactly the kind of resolve and bravery we need to make sure we care for the under- and uninsured of America.

Our trip will be guided by the generosity and kindness of the people who have reached out to help Dawn. Already we’re planning special stops across North Carolina and Virginia to connect with people who want to meet her and wish her well on the hard journey against CIGNA.

Tomorrow we’ll be setting off from Atlanta and traveling to Asheville, North Carolina, where MoveOn members and others have already prepared a warm welcome., opening their homes and offering to share their health care stories with us to aide Dawn’s fight. From there we travel East towards Charlotte and Raleigh, then into Virginia and up to DC. From there we’ll head into Philadelphia to make CIGNA own up to its broken promises and provide the health care Dawn deserves.

When Was The Last Time You Roared?


“An Injured Lion Still Wants to Roar”

–       Dr. Randy Pausch

A brain tumor, like any illness, is hell on the body. Fighting insurance companies can test spirits with the strongest faith and constitution. The financial calamity and social isolation that ensue can be downright maddening.

Like so many of you, I know the health care that we seek—the health care I pay to receive—is not a privilege, but a right. My mother and I cling to this belief every time we appeal to CIGNA for testing and treatment. It keeps us going in the face of their callous denials.

This belief makes me want to roar.

No matter which side of health care reform debate you sit, people of good will avow that there are too many health care horror stories. These are not stories of people asking for handouts. Some of you are self-employed like me and working to keep your business and health insurance afloat. You might be one of the millions doing right by your employer and hoping your health care provider does right by you. Then, one diagnosis requires the support of the health insurance companies we work so hard to pay. In return for years of payment, denial letters, price increases and drop notices show up in our mailboxes.

It is time for us to become change agents. You can change my future and those of others who receive the same denial letters. The broken health care system forces us out of our careers, into medical bankruptcy and for the least fortunate of us…death.

It is time for us to roar.