Trina Parker of Chattanooga will be honored as a Mother of the Year by the Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) at a reception in Nashville on June 4. The award is in recognition of her persistence in battling to obtain medical services for her son and for her commitment to the health care of all children and families. Ms. Parker is one of six parents from across Tennessee who are receiving the 2010 TJC Mother of the Year award.
Eleven-year-old Darius “never meets a stranger,” said his mom, Ms. Parker, of her outgoing 5th grader. But last fall, chronic headaches and severe weight loss began forcing him to miss school and football practice. Darius was diagnosed with brain cancer.
Then, TennCare told Ms. Parker that Darius would lose coverage the day before he was scheduled to have his brain tumor removed. Without insurance, the hospital would not perform the operation. Ms. Parker called TJC. TJC determined that TennCare had miscalculated the family’s income and that Darius should stay on TennCare.
In her fight to reinstate Darius’s care, Trina Parker also spoke for many other parents struggling to obtain care for their children. Currently, more than 600,000 children rely on TennCare for their health care.
"Trina Parker’s devotion to her son and her persistence in fighting for what she needs is an inspiring example of how Tennessee mothers bravely stand up for the rights of their children who are sick or have disabilities,” said Michele Johnson, managing attorney at the Tennessee Justice Center (TJC), a non-profit public interest law and advocacy firm based in Nashville. “These caregivers face many obstacles in obtaining the care that their children need and taxpayers have already paid for them to receive. Yet their vision and hope for their children is unyielding. Our annual Mother of the Year recognition is a way to acknowledge their struggles, sacrifices and devotion to their children.”
Through TJC’s advocacy, Darius kept his health insurance and got life-saving surgery. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy and his prognosis is good.
Ms. Parker said, “With the Tennessee Justice Center’s help, I was able to get Darius’s TennCare reinstated. Now, Darius can get the treatment he needs to live a long, healthy life. I would do anything to help Darius and other young people keep their health care.”