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Kerry Reed

For her fortitude through astounding challenges and her advocacy for families throughout Tennessee, Tennesse Justice Center honors Kerry Reed as a 2018 Mother of the Year.

Kerry Reed had been in the midst of personal and professional success when disaster struck. She’d established tenure at a local organization that provided the means for her to adopt three children as a single parent, then transitioned to building and running her own business from home in order to better meet her children’s needs. It was at that time–while Kerry was on private insurance–that their home was invaded by Lady Asian Beetles, provoking an extreme allergic reaction in Kerry that required months of steroid treatment. Her insurer dropped her for failing to disclose her allergy as a pre-existing condition despite the fact that Kerry had not known she was allergic. Other companies would not cover her.

Her financial struggles intensified when she caught double pneumonia, the uninsured treatments for which wiped out her savings. She began living paycheck-to-paycheck. A couple of years later, she was bitten by a brown recluse and developed a MRSA infection. Kerry went into debt to save her life because nobody would insure her. She eventually lost her family’s four-bedroom home to foreclosure because of her medical bills.

Kerry was finally able to get insurance in 2014 because of the Affordable Care Act. She wants everyone to know that, truly, two health events can cause a family to become nearly homeless. Her family is still struggling financially due to onset of rare diseases that affected Kerry in 2016. Thankfully, her family is now covered by Medicaid. She hopes that neighbors and politicians alike can see that regardless of background, people can develop drastic need in a short amount of time, and that health coverage and care needs to be for everyone.

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