Sarah Burgess

I never thought I’d join a protest. I’m not physically healthy enough to “march”, let alone travel to the closest Women’s March site.

I’m mainly joining the march because I don’t believe in striking down an established system without a solid plan B to replace it with.

I’m joining because I’m a single, disabled woman – and it’s ridiculously hard to live like that.

I’m joining because after graduating undergrad at age 23 I was not able to get any health insurance due to my progressively worsening chronic health problems – which means that I had to go without medication for illnesses I’ve had since childhood. If anything, those of us who are young, fundamentally ill, and trying so hard to be a functional member of society should be among the first to be covered.

I’m joining because the Affordable Care Act worked for me. I finally managed to get coverage about a year and a half ago at age 32. I applied for disability after losing a full time job in my field because my body finally gave out after fighting to pass as normal since age 16. When I officially received disability and SSI funds starting in March of 2016 I was able to move out of my mom’s place – a house that made me sicker – and into my own apartment, where I can concentrate on getting better and possibly reentering the workforce. The picture I’ve attached is of me, 34, moments after signing the lease to my place on August 15th, 2016.

I’m joining because, if I lose my coverage, I’ll have to move back in with my mother and get sicker again – and possibly never recover.

Bio: I graduated from University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point in 2005 with my BS in Psychology. I planned to become a professor and did about three years of graduate work in experimental psychology at California State University – San Bernardino before having to leave due to poorly treated bipolar disorder. I then did any job I could hold down until my severe food and environmental allergies left me too reactive to work. I am now being tested for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and figuring out how to be a valuable member of society while disabled. My prognosis is unknown.

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