Helping Families Call the US “Home”

Suzy came to the United States 16 years ago. Ever since, she and her family have worked tirelessly to build their future and make progress. But they’ve faced many challenges, including language barriers and immigration hurdles.

One of the biggest and most frightening barriers, however, was not having health insurance. So when a doctor told Suzy that her mother, Angelina, needed surgery because she had an aneurysm lodged in her head, it was shocking and awful — but also financially terrifying.

For Angelina, it was a matter of life and death. But the surgery was very expensive, and the doctor refused to perform the surgery if they couldn’t pay. This news took both Suzy and Angelina aback.

In this moment, the pair embodied the racist injustices paired with the dire consequences of not having health insurance — just because they were not originally from the US.

Yet Suzy was determined to get her mother the care she so desperately needed. In her research for support, Suzy met health care workers from Mano a Mano — an organization in Illinois that helps immigrant families become full participants in their communities. Not only did Mano a Mano help Suzy’s family secure charity care (financial resources) to cover the cost of Angelina’s surgery, but Suzy ended up working for Mano a Mano. Today, she is helping other families during their worst moments — just as she and her mother endured.

“I know that there are thousands of others throughout the state who need access to health insurance. It is important that there is a coverage option for everyone, for all ages,” Suzy said. “I am so proud to be part of the Mano a Mano team.”

Community Catalyst is proud to partner with Mano a Mano on the journey to health justice.