Death of a homeless boy

The Star Tribune’s Gail Rosenblum yesterday profiled the sad story of Blake Anderson, a 17-year-old with leukemia and no home. His mother hasn’t been able to pay rent on apartments while trying to get him health care for his leukemia:


Blake, a senior at Mounds View High School in Arden Hills, missed most of his freshman and sophomore years. A tutor keeps him current and he hopes to walk with his class at graduation. Friends send him messages via Facebook, he said. He’d like to return to school part time, but his energy level is unpredictable.

“Sometimes I can walk the whole day,” said Blake, wearing multicolored M&M pajama pants. “The next day, I feel like somebody drained all my energy out of me.”

Today, the young man died, according to Hearts and Hands, the organization that helped provide support services to the family:


Hearts and Hands has set up a dedicated fund to help Blake’s mother, Michelle. She is a single parent and is currently homeless. Funds will be used to help Michelle get back on her feet. Losing a child is a heartbreaking, life changing event and Michelle has a difficult road ahead of her. She was a dedicated, loving mother to Blake who gave all she had for his care. Please help. 100% of your contribution to this fund will be given to Michelle. If you are contributing by check, please send to Blake Anderson Fund c/o Hearts and Hands, 2608 Blaisdell Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408

  • Jim Shapiro

    Yeah, but the health care system should still be determined by market forces, right?

  • Josh

    so sad.

  • Scott

    And some people think our health care system in this country is working just fine. How do they sleep at night?

  • Kassie

    You make it sound like he didn’t have health care by saying, “His mother hasn’t been able to pay rent on apartments while trying to get him health care for his leukemia.” But no where is it suggested he didn’t have good health care. It looks like he got great health care, but died anyhow. While there are many, many bad parts of our health care system, we do a damn good job of getting poor kids good health coverage.

  • Bob Collins

    // You make it sound like he didn’t have health care by saying, “His mother hasn’t been able to pay rent on apartments while trying to get him health care for his leukemia.”

    I do no such thing. I make it sound like she hasn’t been able to afford and maintain an apartment. The reasons why are clear in Gail’s column. It’s the homelessness that’s the major part of the story, not the health care.

    Trust me: If I’d wanted to say he didn’t have health care, I’d have actually SAID he didn’t have health care.

  • Kassie

    Then why did two of the three comments before mine focus on the bad health care system ? And I read it that way too.

  • Bob Collins

    // Then why did two of the three comments before mine focus on the bad health care system ? And I read it that way too.

    I suspect they didn’t read the story.

  • Amber

    Have you ever had to deal with having a child with a life-threatening illness, families shattered, bills unpaid, because at the moment the only important thing you can focus on or deal with, is the survival of your child?! There may be good healthcare for our poor sick children in this country, but that’s not enough. makes me sick we can dole out so much to other “needy” countries when there are innocent children dying every day in our own backyard!

  • Jim Shapiro

    I, for one, did read the entire piece. While Bob’s intro is easily misinterpreted, the story is about a tragedy of disease and homelessness, with blame placed on no one, with the exception of perhaps the mother.

    The poor generally receive excellent health care in this country, and pay little or nothing for it.

    The problem lies in the number of middle class people who are MADE poor by catastrophic health costs.

    Whether or not the Romney/Obama health care plan will hold up in court, and if it does – succeed – remains to be seen.

    Depends on whether or not the insurance companies want it to I guess.

    Amber – A fairly accurate definition of foreign aid is that it’s the poor and middle class in wealthy countries giving money ( via insufficient services and taxes) to the wealthy in poor countries.