Robert of Knoxville, Tennessee

Robert of Knoxville, Tennessee writes:

I’ve lived in Knoxville all my life. I was always an honors student, I earned my blackbelt in karate, and I am an Eagle Scout. I was very involved with my school in high school, I was the lead in one of our theatre productions and I was homecoming king. I am currently 19 years old and attend the University of Tennessee. When I was in the eighth grade both of my parents lost their jobs, as an eighth grader I could not drive and get a job myself. For this reason, I started my own YouTube channel and I have earned my money through my own hard work and perseverance since then. At UTK I am studying neuroscience, and hope to attend a medical or dental school after college.

In the eighth grade my parents both lost their jobs and I was diagnosed with ADD. I was starting to struggle in school, so I had to start taking medicine for my condition. The next year as a freshman, I suffered a spontaneous pneumothorax, my lung collapsed for no reason. I struggled the next semester of school, I was in a lot of pain for several weeks and had to wear prescribed pain patches. The following year as a sophomore, my other lung collapsed and I went through the same hardships. Both times my lung collapsed I underwent surgery. During my junior year of high school I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and we had to spend a good bit of the fall semester trying to find out if I had thyroid cancer. As a senior in high school my thyroid was still not under control, and during that year I was diagnosed with Ebstein Bar Virus Syndrome.

My parents are hardworking southern people. They wanted to work, but my father with a master’s degree in chemical engineering could not find a job. He went back to school and became a chemistry teacher my senior year of high school. If not for Obamacare and TennCare, we would have lost our house while we were struggling to get on our feet. With so many pre-existing conditions, I fear that if I am eventually forced off my parents’ insurance, I would be denied insurance.

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