Angie Quinn-Clark is many things: an active duty solider stationed in Fort Campbell, KY, a dedicated wife, an amazing mother, and a tireless advocate. Angie lives in Clarksville with her husband, Curtis Clark, a retired soldier with more than twenty years of experience, and their four children- Cathy, Brianna, Curtis Jr., and Tamorra.
The youngest of their children is 14-year-old Tamorra. Tamorra loves listening to music and the feel of the wind blowing on her face when she swings. Angie says that Tamorra was ecstatic when she was able to visit Disney World a few months ago. One of Tamorra’s most memorable moments while visiting was the ceremonial Disney Parade. Tamorra made sounds of joy and sang along as the characters proceeded down the street. Tamorra was also captivated by the light shows, her eyes lighting up with excitement and wonder.
Unlike many other children Tamorra’s age, her history is marked with a long list of medical needs. Tamorra is a quadriplegic with severe Cerebral Palsy, which is exacerbated by epileptic seizures. Tamorra was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at three months of age. She requires a large amount of attentive care because she cannot speak, has to be fed through a G-tube every four hours, receives numerous medications, and attends a variety of therapies to ensure that she functions to her greatest ability. Most importantly, Tamorra needs someone to be her voice at all times to acknowledge her pain, discomfort, wants and needs.
Providing care for Tamorra, as well as their four other children, can be overwhelming. Both Angie and Curtis have to work so that they can make sure that the family is taken care of, and to ensure that they can receive the health care benefits relied upon by their children, especially Tamorra. Considering the daily cost of living, food, gas, activities, and the costs of caring for a child with special health care needs, having a two-income household is a necessity.
Because both parents have to work to meet the family’s needs, their income is too high for TennCare. That means that there is little relief, even with private insurance, from the medical expenses that are incurred in caring for Tamorra. As a result of not having the type of support and services they could get if they had TennCare, the family has made many sacrifices, financially, emotionally and otherwise, so that Angie and Curtis can provide a complete and comfortable life for Tamorra and a normal life for their other children.
Many states have a program that provides financial and medical relief for families like Tamorra’s. The Katie Beckett waiver allows children with special health care needs to receive TennCare, which gives much needed care and support at home, regardless of the family’s income. Twenty-two states have the Katie Beckett waiver, but Tennessee does not. For Tamorra, the Katie Beckett Wavier would allow her to receive the vital care she needs at home, while alleviating some of the financial and emotional burdens that fall on the family. Angie remains hopeful that one day she will see the Katie Beckett waiver in Tennessee, so Tamorra and 255,692 other children with special health care needs in the state can get the care they desperately need.
For now, despite these odds, they are making it work. Angie not only ensures that her family is taken care of, but she also gives extraordinary care, compassion, and love to Tamorra, the type of care that only a mom can give. Angie and Tamorra’s bond is so strong that when Angie is out of town for work, the family has to place a recording of Angie’s voice in her daughter’s room to comfort her.
Like most parents, Angie has dreams and hopes for Tamorra. Angie dreams for Tamorra to be as comfortable and happy as possible, and to thrive. Angie has a dream of one day opening a child care center that provides occupational and physical therapy to children with special health care needs. She says, “There are so many children that get looked over and forgotten. I would like to change that.”
Because of Angie’s dedication and love for Tamorra, and because of her advocacy on behalf of children across Tennessee with special health care needs, we are excited to be able to honor her as a 2013 Community Mom of the Year.