Delta father asks community for aid

By: Alex Hambrick Email
By: Alex Hambrick Email

After losing his wife, a father reaches out to the community as he tries to make ends meet.

Jeff Barnes is a cancer survivor and single parent who recently lost his wife, Marion, to pancreatic cancer. Now he is trying to pick up the pieces.

"They've already lost a mother and a wife, and I lost a great friend. I would hate to see them lose this because I don't want to lose the rest of them because they can't pay the bills," neighbor Nicky Conry said.

Marion died last Wednesday, a loss her family feels may not have come so soon if they could afford health insurance.

"The only way for us to get an appointment was for us to come up with $600 cash," Jeff said. "And we made the house payment instead of paying that; I think that was a mistake."

When Jeff was diagnosed with cancer two years ago, the family was forced to file for bankruptcy.

He was able to beat the disease, but the challenges just kept coming.

Jeff feels he is a part of a forgotten class.

"I make $13 an hour. I'm in a dead zone I don't make enough, but I make too much. Everyone is always talking about the middle class, but what about the people in my position that don't get help because they make too much money but not enough to survive," said Jeff.

It was not until the Saturday before she passed away that Medicare approved Marion for financial assistance.

Unfortunately at that point, she was too weak to recover.

"It's hard because we have health insurance, and it's easy for us to go to the doctor and be seen. But to watch somebody who doesn't have health insurance, it is horrible," said Conry.

Jeff's wife is gone, and the heartache and debt left behind are difficult to bear, he said.

"I had to count on donations from my brother and other family members, but its been a struggle," said Jeff.

With elections just a few months away, Jeff wishes he could get answers to the question he and others would like to have.

"It's aggravating me. I'd like to address the president and want-to-be president: 'What are you going to do about the low class and the no class?'" said Jeff.

Barnes took a week off from work to be at his wife's side during her last days.

He will return to work tomorrow but is worried he may not be able to pay the bills this month.

If you can help, contact the Delta Bank Center and ask to donate to the Marion Barnes Memorial Fund.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Roxane Location: Heppner, OR on Sep 3, 2012 at 08:26 PM
    This family has had a terrible loss. We need to remember he is grieving, and needs help. He will lose what he has left. I hope the community will come together and help this family. I wish they had health insurance. It may of taken the burden off of this family. Please don't use this article as a place to air political views. My prayers and thoughts are with them.
  • by SAM Location: Grand Junction on Sep 3, 2012 at 06:03 PM
    I hope more people are paying attention to stories like this article tells. How many of the working class, that is considered middle class, would be able to afford $1200.00 per month, and more if you have children, to pay for health insurance? This is what we are looking forward to with Obamacare. Obamacare did nothing to reduce cost of health care. Obamacare did nothing to provide better health care to anyone. Obamacare did drive the cost of health care insurance higher and made it mandatory that you purchase health care insurance. Over 50% of all individual bankruptcies filed in the USA, are filed due to medical cost incurred by a family. We need to reduce health care costs, not force people to buy insurance.
    • reply
      by Yes on Sep 5, 2012 at 04:05 AM in reply to SAM
      The high health insurance costs you're crying about have been unaffordable for 20 years. If it weren't for my employers contribution, I couldn't afford to be insured. What is the alternative? I don't hear anything about "other" plans to insure famililies or lower cost. Under the health care act middle/lower income people could get treatment.
  • by Carol Location: GJ on Sep 3, 2012 at 05:43 PM
    Poignant story, well told, touching comment on the state of mid, "no" class Americans today. Working poor.Thank you for pointing that out. We as a community need to work on it.
    • reply
      by Susan on Sep 4, 2012 at 06:20 PM in reply to Carol
      You are badly misinformed and making incorrect statements about Obamacare, Sam. If you vote for Romney everyone in the middle class & lower class will get screwed in taxes as well as devastating senior citizens with the privatization of medicare. Nevertheless, this family needs help and we are donating.
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