On the morning of December 12th, 2021, my mom was driving us back home from church. As we drove into the neighborhood, I was looking out of the window at the clouds, but when I turned back to the road, I didn’t just see the road. Instead, I saw a ford pickup truck hurdling at us. The driver had brought himself and his truck to the wrong side of the road while speeding, and he ran right into us head on. Immediately after the crash, my mom gasped for air and told me she was going to die. I called 911 and she was taken away in an ambulance.
My mom did not die, but she did fracture eight ribs, both of her wrists, and her sternum; she spent about a week in the hospital and needed two surgeries. In total, we racked up $400,000 in medical bills, the car was totaled, and my mom, who was provided the only income in our home, couldn’t work for six months. My mom is a home health care occupational therapist, so she essentially works out of her car, but our family can’t afford another. I was starting college and needed to make tuition payments, but my mom was unable to contribute because of the medical bills. Even with insurance, the medical bills were incredibly high.
A car accident that we had no fault in should not have left our family with so much financial struggle. We had no way of predicting or preventing this accident, but my mom was left with a large financial burden while she was recovering physically and emotionally from a traumatic event. Health care is a human right and nobody should have to endure what my family, especially my mom, went through.
Margarita Arango is 18 years old and from Rockford, IL. She is a first-year Public Policy student at the University of Illinois Chicago. She is vice president of the Student Advocacy Coalition at UIC and a part of the Illinois Young Advocates Program with YI.