Last year, Barbara McMurtry’s daughter, Amanda Anderson, was dying of a rare form of cancer, leaving behind two daughters. Barbara and her husband James stepped in to do all they could to ease Amanda’s suffering and care for their two granddaughters.
One of Amanda’s greatest fears was for the health and future of her children. She was afraid of leaving her daughters without health insurance. She was especially tormented by worries for 17-year old Samantha, who suffers from a rare, potentially life-threatening autoimmune disease.
Amanda’s parents, Barbara and James McMurtry, tried to honor their daughter’s wish to secure health coverage. A hospice worker reached out to contact TJC for help. Fortunately, Medicaid was available to provide health care for Amanda’s children, as it does for over half of Tennessee’s children. TJC immediately went to work, gathering documentation and information to prove that the children were eligible for coverage and help them through the complicated application process.
Within days, Barbara received the children’s new TennCare cards and was able to show them to Amanda. With immense relief, Amanda thanked God, saying, “That’s what I’ve been praying for.” A few days later, she was gone. Barbara recalls that Amanda was able to find peace and comfort in her last days knowing that her daughters would have the security of coverage after she was gone. Barbara said, “Learning her daughter had insurance made it easier for Amanda to go to rest.”
Her mother and grandmother’s hard work to secure health coverage and a brighter future for Samantha will have ripple effects for years to come in Samantha’s own life. Samantha, now assured of the medical treatment she needs, she is starting college in the fall and is planning on a career in social work helping others.
Congress has just given Barbara a new worry by tacking massive Medicaid cuts onto the bill that will repeal Obamacare. She worries about what will happen to Samantha and others’ grandchildren who face similar challenges.
In her loving devotion to her daughter and grandchildren, Barbara embodies the courage and love we celebrate on Mother’s Day. She is proud to see those qualities - and Amanda’s big heart - in her grandchildren. TJC is honored to recognize Barbara for her tireless efforts to care for her daughter in her last days and to ensure her granddaughters’ health care needs are met.