I’m Leslie Boyd. I was Mike’s mom. His life brought me incredible joy, and his death leaves a hole in my heart that will never heal.
I promised Mike before he died that his death would bring about something positive, so I am trying to collect the stories of people who have lost loved ones because they didn’t have insurance and couldn’t get the treatment they needed.
That number is 45,000 a year and doesn’t include the people who die because one in five insurance claims in this country is denied by the insurance companies. The sad thing is that every one of those people meant as much to someone as Mike meant to me and all the other people in his life.
I was a veteran newspaper reporter when I decided to leave and do this advocacy full-time. I covered social justice issues for more than 25 years. I wrote about the issue of health insurance since 1992, when there were only 16 million people who didn’t have health insurance.
Today more than 50 million people don’t have health insurance. Millions more have coverage that leaves them thousands of dollars in debt every time they have any illness that requires hospitalization or surgery.
I want to put faces on these statistics.
I’m Janet Danforth, designer and webmaster for Life o’ Mike. My design shows different aspects of Mike. The plaid is for the flannel pajama pants he wore most of his last few years. Blues and greens were two of his favorite colors. He enjoyed working on black and white photos in the darkroom when he took a college photography class.
Mike and I were married for nearly seven years. Even though we were divorced, we were still very close. After all, I was his favorite ex-wife. I spent his last few weeks at his bedside helping Leslie take care of him. It’s still difficult for me to realize that he’s really gone. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and be halfway to the phone to call him before I remember.
To be as young as we were, and facing the possibility of your imminent death on top of college and money struggles is just too much for most people to deal with. When you’re a full-time student just trying to make enough money to pay your rent, expensive medical procedures just aren’t a priority. I wouldn’t wish what Mike went through on my greatest enemy.
That’s why I’m helping Leslie create this site: so no one else has to go through what we did.