Thursday, July 06, 2006

Column raises a concern

My mailbox is overflowing with letters of support and concern regarding my last column on disabledocide.

Tragically, another girl, age 4, with cerebral palsy named Lexus Fuller is in OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria battling for her life.

Her mother, Kellie Waremburg, allegedly overdosed the child so she would go to sleep and never wake up.

Dixie Belcher is fighting to save the life of her son, Daniel Cullen, who is just 11 months old. Daniel accidentally pulled out the tube to his trach, which was helping him to breathe. Dallas Children's Hospital has decided to end this child's life despite brain activity.

The ethics committee has given Daniel's mom two weeks to find a facility willing to take her child.

Lesley Hanks, vice president of Colorado's Right to Life, e-mailed me about 4-year-old Dylan Walborn. His parents opted to starve this little boy with cerebral palsy in December 2005. It took the little guy 24 days to die.

Every facet of his death was meticulously chronicled by The Denver Post. It was called a mercy killing.

After reading about the death of Katie McCarron, the 3-year-old with autism from Morton. I have perused many blogs on autism. I was greatly disturbed to read an e-mail from grandparents who are concerned that their daughter might be planning to kill their granddaughter with autism.

The media has hammered the horror of raising a child with a disability way too much, which puts kids with disabilities at risk.

Today in an e-mail, a loving parent sent me a photo of their son Stephen. He has the happiest grin. This son with autism is well loved, as are most kids with disabilities.

On a happier note, it is my anniversary. I have been writing this column for two years. I recently received these comments in an e-mail:

Think about this: if your parents would have killed you, then I and many others would not be reading your articles. Who would be the voice, conscience for our society? You have shared your thoughts and expertise regarding people with disabilities. Your powers and influence are far-reaching. You never know whose eyes you might be opening each and every time one of your articles is published. This would never happen if someone had decided to kill you because you had disabilities. Keep up your excellent work, Kathy.

I am truly amazed at the far-reaching realms of my columns. They are picked up and shared, even debated, on numerous sites. I am truly grateful to The Herald News for the opportunity to help thousands of people with disabilities near and far who contact me.

I want to thank Rose Panieri and Jan Larsen for believing in me. Jan is without a doubt the best editor I have ever worked for.

And, a big thank you to my loyal readers. I am glad that I have touched your hearts. You have certainly touched mine.

- Valerie Brew-Parrish is an advocate, educator, and lecturer. Contact her at