FRANCISCO FELIX: Father of 4 beautiful girls.
Hepatitis C AHCCCS Patient on Liver Transplant Waiting List.
Car Wash today and Tomorrow.
My friend Julie Acklin and I spent a few hours today with the friends and family of Francisco Felix, a Hepatitis C patient in need of a liver transplant. He actually had a match donated to him by a family friend who passed away in November, but he couldn't afford the $200,000 tab - and the state refused to step up to pay it.
Francisco is one of 98 patients in our state (now 97, I believe, with Mark Price's death) who lost funding this fall for their desperately needed organ and tissue transplants through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS - Arizona's name for Medicaid, which is less and less accessible under our compassionate conservatives). Several of the links I've embedded in this post will help you find out who voted for and against the cuts, but I can tell you it was pretty much a party-line thing. A week or so ago I protested at the Capitol and blogged on this issue, too (see "Bury My Heart in An AHCCCS Patient").
13-year old Carlos Olivas, Jr. (above, with Jessica Felix) also hit the Capitol to protest and has been everywhere fund-raising recently. I met him at the car wash today, and he's an amazing kid. Read the CNBC story about him if you need some inspiration to stop talking and take action for these folks. He's pretty humble about it, but as I understand it, he's single-handedly raised nearly $2,000 for the cause so far. Really, all those kids out there today were heroes; just a few (including Francisco's daughters) are pictured here.
The AZ Senate Democrats have filed a bill to restore the transplant funding, but they aren't the ones in control of the state legislature - the Republicans are, so lobby the Governor and your lawmaker for it hard, reminding them that it's our money they're depriving Arizona's families of, not theirs.
There will be another fundraiser for him tomorrow as well, so please bring your dirty cars, a little cash, and some rich friends or Republican legislators to support the cause.
The easiest way I found to get there from my place on Central and Roosevelt was to hop on the I-10 going West, take the 75th Ave exit North, and head up to Indian School Road, where you'll make a left, going West again. About 1/4 mile down the road you'll see a ton of eager children on your right (probably waving hot pink signs) imploring you to wash your car. Turn in it even if it's already clean.
While you're waiting for your vehicle shop at NAPA Auto Parts (the guy there threw his support behind this whole thing), hit the yard sale for things you might (or might not) need, buy a Francisco Felix t-shirt, or mosey on to the back of the lot to pick up a couple of tacos. If you're really brave, turn your clean car over to me and the kids to have your back window painted. The photos throughout this post should give you an idea of what I mean.
If you can't make it tomorrow, don 't worry - you can still give to Francisco's fund. In fact, that's all I really want for Christmas, so if you really love me, go to the NTAF and donate today.
Feliz Navidad, mis amigos y amigas.
(hope I got that right... Love to all.)