This holiday season everyone reading this should give thanks that they are not Joanne and David Stratton. The South Jersey couple has not exactly lived the A-merry-can dream:
"THE STRATTONS aren't on a reality-television show about extreme makeovers. They're not swapping lives or wives with another couple who has it tough. There's no British nanny flying in with a film crew to help them care for a boy with cerebral palsy.
Reality for David and Joanne Stratton and their 7-year-old son, Dominic, is a 617-square-foot home, a former chicken coop that was built in 1940 in what is now the affluent suburb of Mount Laurel. Their days and nights play out in the small space that serves as the couple's bedroom, Dominic's therapy room and, when there's a rare visitor, the living room it was intended to be.
There's foul water that gurgles up from their well and worn carpet that Dominic lies on to play with toys or watch his beloved female Philadelphia news anchors because there's no room there for a walker or a wheelchair.
The Strattons, a fiercely proud and humble family, never had any room for charity either and weren't comfortable being the guests of honor at recent community fundraisers held for them.
"Me and Joanne never asked for anything," said David, 42, seated on a coffee table pushed against a television in the cramped living room. "We're kind of quiet people. "We've always just depended on each other."'
Thankfully for the Strattons, some good neighbors (Including a current and former Philadelphia Eagle.) understand the true meaning of the holiday season, and they have been trying to help them.
Still, I am left to wonder; if we had universal health care in this country would poor little Dominic and the Strattons be in this position? I am just wondering out loud. The author did not mention how the Strattons have been paying to take care of Dominic's medical needs, because I am guessing it wasn't the focus of his article. But I am. And I am wondering just how many more families like this are living in A-merry-ca, today.
Chicken coops are for chickens. Human beings in first world countries -especially ones with disabled children- should be able to live in a house.