Your stories

Leslie and I have heard from a lot of other people who have had problems with our current medical system. Most people who have heard Mike’s story have been horrified by how long it took him to get the care he needed.

But many have told me they don’t want to share their story because “it’s not as bad as Mike’s.” None of us are interested in rating who’s the worst off. We’re more interested in having as many people as possible share their experience. Whether you’ve had problems getting treatment and insurance, had to go into debt to pay medical bills or are stuck in a job to keep your medical coverage, we want you to tell us about it!

Your stories contains 8 posts

Bobby Butterworth

My Friend, Bobby Butterworth had some chest pains a month ago, on a Thursday. We told him to go to the ER. He decided to wait the evening, because he had no insurance – He felt a hospital bill would bankrupt him and leave him on the street (the ER asks for money up front [...]

Charitable Groups

Happy Sunday to you all. I was sitting in a coffee shop and reflecting on the amount of help given to my family through the years. My sister was born with a cleft lip/palette. Shortly afterward, my father broke his back when he fell off a building he was working on. I try to remember [...]

Held hostage by our jobs

The movie “Sicko” gave Michael Moore’s dramatic perspective of our healthcare crisis. My perspective is more limited, but equally real, for any Sarah Palin fans out there. I had not had much reason to think about the situation until I moved three years ago. Until then, I had been fortunate; I had always had health [...]

Insurance for the Self-Employed

I was successfully self-employed a year ago, I didn’t have health insurance yet because I could not afford it despite making a decent amount of money. I was shopping around to try to find some. Then I got unexplainably ill, I went to every type of doctor and thousands of dollars later was diagnosed with [...]

Other People’s Stories

We’ve been hoping to get some people to tell their own stories here — a couple of friends have told me they don’t want to be the first, or they don’t think having to stay in a job they hate because of the insurance compares to losing a kid. All the stories are valid. People [...]

I made it.

So I made it on to the site, I really miss Mikey, Im the little cousin that could. I would frequently call mikey when everything was down and out on my end and mikey always gave it to me straight. I am just like him in his sense of humor and “Boyd” way, you dont [...]

Go Duke!

I don’t really care about sports, but I am a huge Duke fan. Almost irrationally so. My blue runs Duke Blue. When there was the controversy with their lacrosse team, I couldn’t believe they had done anything wrong. If it had been any other school, I would have thought something was suspicious with the whole [...]

hello lifeomike

A wonderful tribute to Michael, and to all who have died at the hands of our greedy, for-profit health care system. It is unconscionable that anyone in this land of obscene wealth should die because they lack access to health care. Even though I’m Mike’s aunt, I didn’t know him well. I’ve gotten to know [...]

Visit our new web site

It's official! We are WNC Health Advocates.
Please visit our new web site, Visit WNC Health Advocates
The new name reflects what we do -- advocate for health care for everyone and help people access and navigate our current health care system.
While we still hold onto the memory and the generous spirit of Mike Danforth, we need people to be able to see our name and understand who we are.

Help Life o’ Mike

We need your help now more than ever. Your tax-deductible donation will help us get Patient Pals and Family Friends to more people in need of peer support. Please consider a gift in honor or in memory of a loved one.
Donate here or mail your donation to Life o' Mike, PO Box 1213, Asheville, NC 28802.

Patient Pals & Family Friends

Life o' Mike has a peer support program for people with one or more serious or chronic medical issues or disabilities.

We aim to reduce isolation and fear among people who have conditions, including psychiatric illness, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, mild dementia or other cognitive disorder or disability, thereby reducing depression and complications as people learn to improve self-management of their medical conditions.

Patient Pals help alleviate feelings of isolation and frustration. They can help people develop a list of questions to ask the doctor and then accompany the person to the doctor to make sure all the questions are answered, taking notes to be sure the person understands the doctor’s answers.

Our trained volunteers also accompany their “Pals” to art exhibits, movies and walks outdoors, meet for coffee, call to check in and more.

Our Pals have experienced weight loss, improvement in diabetes, HIV, psoriasis, depression and more, just because they have someone who cares about them. Some relationships develop into longer-term friendships; other Pals move on to more independent lives.

Family Friends are there to help caregivers and other family members grow into their new role.

We need volunteers, who are asked to donate a minimum of one hour a week. Training is free and includes information on active listening, ways to help and when to know more help is needed.

And of course, we need funding.

To learn more, call Leslie Boyd at 828-243-6712 or e-mail

Life o’ Mike honors Joe Eblen

Life o' Mike presented its first Michael T. Danforth Community Service Award to Joe Eblen at a luncheon on June 8, in the Friendship Hall of First Congregational Church, 20 Oak St., Asheville.
Joe, seen here with Leslie Boyd, left, and his wife, Bobbie, has spent his life helping children and families, both as a coach and game official for more than 60 years, and as founder of Eblen Charities.

Start From Seed

Life o' Mike has a new program- Start from Seed (SFS).
SFS is a volunteer doula program aimed at providing non-medical, comprehensive support to low income, high-risk women and families of Buncombe County focusing on three areas:

1. We help new doulas with certification and training in return for their participation as a volunteer doula for SFS

2. We mentor volunteer doulas with their first few clients

3. Our volunteer doulas provide birth and postpartum doula services to low income, high risk moms, providing support and tools to empower them as a new parent.

A birth doula is a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; a postpartum doula provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

Start from Seed clients are referred to us from the Buncombe County Department of Health’s Nurse-Family Partnership Program, Western North Carolina Community Health Services, and Mission Hospital. The Program is intended and designed for growing clients’ inner strength and helping them gain empowerment to help them cope with the emotional, physical and mental challenges of childbirth, labor, and motherhood.

Our new moms and their infants have many needs. If you would like to help them get off to a good start, please visit our Start from Seed web site: Start from Seed, or call Program Director Chelsea Kouns at 804-814-9946.

Events in the community

Free birth and labor classes

Peaceful Beginning Doula Services holds free birth forums, Peaceful Birth, 6:30-8 p.m. the last Thursday of every month (except November) at Spa Materna, 640 Merrimon Ave., above The Hop, in Asheville.
All are welcome, expectant women and their partners are encouraged to attend anytime during their pregnancy. We also encourage doulas and other maternal/child professionals to attend and share in the discussions. The forums are "birth circle" style, focusing on normal birth which follows the Lamaze Six Care Practices for Healthy Birth. The forums are led by certified and experienced educators.

NAMI Family-to-Family Class

NAMI of Western Carolina holds 12-week classes for families and caregivers of individuals with a severe mental illness 6-8:30 p.m. Mondays at Charles George VA Medical Center, 1100 Tunnel Road in Asheville. The course covers major mental illnesses and self-care. Registration required. Info at 828-299-9596 or

Contact your representatives

Ask them what they're doing to fix health care!

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