Philadelphia Tragedy: A Call to Action

Generally I work hard to write about topics that I feel passionate about but are not controversial.  In fact Jerry has often referred to me as “Switzerland” because I can tend to see and support both sides of a story.  Oh, don’t get me wrong – it is not that I am unopinionated but I generally choose to not go public with those thoughts.  Fair warning though, this post may indeed generate some controversy.

I am sure that by now most of you have heard or read the story of the 21 year old non verbal young man with cerebral palsy who was abandoned by his mother for more than a week along Cobbs Creek Parkway in Philadelphia while she went to her visit her boyfriend.  This young man laid in the park for multiple days with only a blanket and a Bible.

The mother, who has been arrested and is currently hospitalized (reason unknown), has been berated by all who hear the story.  I have to agree that this is a horrendous situation.  I am grateful that this young man lived and is now being cared for by CHOP and other family members.  There really is no excuse for what the Mom did.  It is wrong to endanger her son’s life in this way.

Now don’t flog me; while I completely disagree with the actions of the Mom and cannot condone them on any level, I have some compassion for the woman and some understanding of what she may have been up against.  

Family Retreat provides a respite for Caregivers

Caregiving is hard!  It’s constant and continual.  I know, I’ve been doing it full time about a year less than this Mom.  And gratefully the person I care for is verbal and independent with all but his personal care.  He also has attendant care that spells me off a few days a week.  Even so, caregiving is exhausting and relentless.  

Family Retreat gives Caregivers a break



While some may say she should have sought services to help, we are all aware of how difficult it is to get services through the social service agencies and governmental avenues.  If there is funding available the wait can very long, and often appropriate caregiving support is difficult to locate.  Again, this does not excuse what this Mom did.  Honestly what this story tells me is that I am in the right line of work!

The answer to the challenges of life with disability and caregiving is NOT more money or better services (though they may help).  The answer is Jesus Christ and His family.  The only hope we have is the hope that is greater than anything in this world, and carries us into eternity because life on this earth is not all there is .  While we are still in this world though, the answer includes those of us who call ourselves the Church (not any individual location, building or gathering but rather those who claim Jesus as Lord of life and want to live for Him) taking seriously the call Christ gives us to care for one another, to love one another and bear one another’s burdens.  

This story reminds me that it’s time for the Church to step it up.  I wonder if this story would have had a different ending if some people in the community who are Christians would have come along side this Mom and been there to encourage her, help care for her son and let her know there is a better way than abandonment?  

Again, I don’t know that for sure – there are so many factors involved in every family and life.  But this story gives me a renewed sense of passion to go to work tomorrow and build the passion, capacity and burden within the Christian community to come alongside families affected by disability so this type of thing never ever happens again!

Moms Club is a safe place for
moms to share and find support

Wives share a break in Caregiving over tea



3 Comments

  1. I was thinking about this today also. I am so glad the the young man is being cared for. I agree with you that there has to be more that people can do to help families in so this situation does not happen. Thankful for organizations that show that love and support like Joni and Friends. Keep up the good work!

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  2. Reminds me of years back where a son of a very prominent man left his son at the ER because they couldn't get respite. And while it, too, was wrong, I was left wondering if a man who had so many resources could find himself up against a wall, what was to happen to the rest of us. I appreciate you being willing to raise the questions! Xoxox

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