MEDINA, Ohio - When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the president’s health care law in June, Barack Obama in his address to the nation said his source of inspiration in the lengthy fight was the letter that hung on the wall of the Oval Office he received in 2010 from Natoma Canfield, of Medina.
A cancer survivor, Canfield wrote the president that she could no longer afford her skyrocketing health care premiums. Forced to drop her insurance, she wrote how she lived in fear of getting sick and losing the family home she grew up in.
The president read that letter to insurance company executives at the White House. Just a week later, Canfield collapsed and she was diagnosed with leukemia.
Her plight became a rallying cry for the administration and when the Health Care Reform Act was signed into law Canfield was too sick to attend the White House bill signing, but her sister and brother went in her place.
When Canfield and the president finally met during a campaign stop, the two exchanged a long hug and Obama promised to one day give her the opportunity that she missed in 2010 and visit the White House to see her letter.
This week, that promise will be kept when Canfield will travel to Washington, D.C. for a White House Christmas Party, where she will get the added bonus of visiting with the president in the Oval Office.
“I’m so excited. I just have to pinch myself,” Canfield said after receiving the news. “I won’t have to stand in line with the rest of the people,” she jokingly added.
Of course, it remains to be seen if the other end of the two invitations exchanged that day in Parma will someday be accepted.
“My sister said 'You come and see the letter on her wall and we’ll come see the letter on your wall,'” said Canfield of the president’s note that hangs proudly in her home.
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