Originally by Milton D. Carrero, Of The Morning Call
Former Northwestern Lehigh High School football standout Brett Snyder has been fighting Lou Gehrig's disease for the past decade, but that's not his only challenge.
He recently underwent a tracheotomy and needs a ventilator, which means that speech as he once knew it is now another one of his memories. The 35-year-old communicates through a machine that detects his eye movements. He blinks to type his thoughts into a keyboard. That is still not his greatest challenge.
"The biggest problem is care," Snyder says. "The care we qualify for we can't get, and the care we need we don't qualify until we go bankrupt."
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The Macungie family is not wealthy enough to afford a full-time nurse to help with his daily physical and medical needs. And the program that provides assistance to pay for these services says they earn too much to qualify.
Sound familiar? Welcome to what Snyder's wife Carissa calls the American health care black hole, which increases an already immense burden.
"I love my family," Snyder says. "Every morning when I wake up, I can't wait to see my wife and son. But at the same time, I see the burden that I am putting on them. Not having enough caretakers is awful."
It puts an additional stress on everyone in the family.
"When a family goes through something like this," Carissa Snyder says, "it's so overwhelming, all-encompassing, that it takes every ounce that you have just to cope."
She laments not having more time to advocate for changes in the criteria used to qualify for government health assistance programs.
Time is a valuable asset for this couple, and enduring the impact of a debilitating disease is burden enough.
"I won't give up," Snyder says. "I am also very grateful for the love and support of my friends and family, and my wife has been my angel."
This couple need a few angels in Congress to change the laws. In the meantime, if you think you can help this family, contact http://www.facebook.com/prayforbrett
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