Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Ady Barkan Gave Night 2's Most Powerful and Memorable Speech - Without a Voice ...

Yes,  Republicans Colin Powell and Cindy McCain surprised us by speaking at the DNC and endorsing Biden - but no one was able to top Michelle Obama last night - with the exception of Ady Barkan, who has ALS.

You may remember Ady, when this video of him confronting former Arizona Republican Senator, Jeff Flake, on a plane, regarding the GOP's continued efforts to totally repeal the ACA and take away healthcare for over 20 million working Americans, as well as cutting funding for the disabled. 

"What should I tell my son, or what would you tell my son if you pass this bill and he cuts funding for disability and I can't get a ventilator? ... Think about this legacy that you will have for my son.  If you take your principles and turn them into votes. You can save my life. You can be a hero. Please remember this conversation. Please. "

Unfortunately, his ALS has progressed to the degree where he can no longer speaker but with a computerized voice

This was Ady just 4 years ago ...

And this is Ady now ... 

ALS is undoubtedly the cruelest of diseases, affecting predominantly men  - progressively robbing them of all muscle use and control, while leaving their minds perfectly intact. They essentially become trapped prisoners inside their own bodies :(

The median survival rate after diagnosis is 2 to 4 years, with 10% to 20% living up to 10 years. 

Stephen Hawking was among that 10% to 20% -  but he also had the best medical care money could buy - which was the point Ady was trying to make to Senator Flake :(

Tonight, he spoke via computerized voice  ... 

First, they played a recording of him in 2018, when he could still speak, speaking to his baby son: 

"Hey Carl, it's me, Dad.  By the time you're watching this, you will have grown up to be strong and courageous, but I don't know how much longer I'll be around for you ..." 

Later, his live computerized speech (transcript) ... 

“Hello, America. My name is Ady Barkan, and I am speaking to you through this computer voice because I have been paralyzed by a mysterious illness called ALS. Like so many of you, I have experienced the ways our health care system is fundamentally broken. Enormous costs, denied claims, dehumanizing treatment when we are most in need. 
Since my shocking diagnosis, I have traveled the country meeting countless patients like me, demanding more of our representatives and our democracy. Today, we are witnessing the tragic consequences of our failing health care system.

In the midst of a pandemic, nearly 100 million Americans do not have sufficient health insurance. And even good insurance does not cover essential needs like long-term care. Our loved ones are dying in unsafe nursing homes. Our nurses are overwhelmed and unprotected. And our essential workers are treated as dispensable.
We live in the richest country in history, and yet we do not guarantee this most basic human right. Everyone living in America should get the health care they need, regardless of their employment status or ability to pay.
Even during this terrible crisis, Donald Trump and Republican politicians are trying to take away millions of people's health insurance. With the existential threat of another four years of this president, we all have a profound obligation to act."

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