PARMA, Ohio - As President Barack Obama spoke to the crowd at Parma’s James Day Park Thursday night there was one person in the audience listening more intently and perhaps more nervously than any other.
Natoma Canfield came up from her Medina home to do what two years of battling leukemia kept her from doing, meeting the president.
Canfield was thrust into the spotlight when she wrote the president in 2010 telling him how as a cancer survivor she could no longer afford her skyrocketing health care premiums. She dropped her insurance and lived in fear of getting sick and losing her childhood home.
No sooner had the president read her letter to insurance company executives at the White House when Natoma collapsed. She was diagnosed with leukemia.
Her story became a rallying cry for the president’s Affordable Care Act. Obama came to Strongsville a few days later where Natoma’s sister Connie Anderson introduced him in place of her sister. Anderson was also present at the White House when the act was signed into law.
That letter, the president told the nation after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law, has hung on his wall of the Oval Office ever since.
Natoma though never got the opportunity to meet the president until the White House called Tuesday to make arrangements for the face to face hello in Parma.
After the speech Natoma and her sister Connie waited in a line of about 20 people picked to say hello to the president. They were at the end of the line and when they met they gave each other a hug more than two years in the making.
“He said he was glad to meet me,” said Canfield. “We talked about how good the Cleveland Clinic has been to me. Then he invited me to come and see the letter on his wall. My sister said you come and see the letter on her wall and we’ll come to see the letter on your wall.”
This was the third time Anderson has met the president. She said she was so excited that Natoma finally had the opportunity to meet him as well.
“She rested up all day, this is just such a special event for her and our whole family but especially because she has gone through so much in the last two years,” said Anderson.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
A Cuyahoga Falls car dealership sold 40 cars to be used in the filming of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier".
Disciplinary hearings for Cleveland police supervisors accused of violating department rules during a deadly chase and shooting last November began Monday.