Mary Lou Retton, the iconic gymnast who charmed the world with her astonishing performance at the 1984 Summer Olympics, is facing a formidable challenge – a rare form of pneumonia. What makes her struggle even more extraordinary is the fact that this Olympic star doesn’t have health insurance.
Mary Lou Retton Daughter’s Cry for Help
McKenna Kelley, Retton’s daughter, initiated a crowdfunding campaign on Spotfund to rally support for her mother’s medical expenses. In a heartfelt plea, she shared the daunting reality her family faces. Her mother, the woman who once soared through the skies with grace and strength, now relies on life support machines to breathe.
Despite the sensitive nature of the situation, the Kelley family decided to make their predicament public. “Out of respect for her and her privacy, I will not disclose all details,” McKenna wrote, “However, I will disclose that she is not insured.”
A Groundswell of Support
The initial crowdfunding goal was set at $50,000, a sum intended to ease the burden of mounting hospital bills. As news of Mary Lou Retton’s health battle spread, an astonishing wave of support began to surge. At the time of this writing, the campaign had exceeded $109,000, with more than 2,200 donors extending their hands in support.
Spotfund, the platform hosting the campaign, allows donors to provide text messages along with their contributions. Thousands of fans, not just from the United States but from all over the world, have sent words of encouragement and love to the Olympic champion.
An American Icon in Crisis
Mary Lou Retton, now 55 years old, was just 16 when she made history by winning the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. She didn’t stop there, also clinching two silver medals and two bronze medals, as noted by the Associated Press.
Her victories captured the hearts of millions and made her an enduring American sports legend. For 20 years, she held the distinction of being the only American woman to win the all-around title. In 2004, Carly Patterson joined her as the second woman from the U.S. to accomplish this feat.
Beyond the world of gymnastics, Mary Lou Retton pursued a career in acting, appearing in several films and television shows in the 1980s and 1990s. She transitioned into a motivational speaker, using her platform to advocate for the benefits of proper nutrition and exercise. She also served on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under former President George W. Bush.
Mary Lou Retton Health Insurance
Mary Lou Retton’s medical battle highlights a broader issue in the United States: the accessibility of healthcare. According to the latest data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, roughly 10.2% of Americans under the age of 65 lack health insurance. This makes the U.S. stand out among wealthy nations, as it has not achieved universal healthcare, either through a single-payer system like Canada and the UK or a multi-payer system like Germany and Australia.
In a world where healthcare is deemed a fundamental right, the situation of a national treasure like Mary Lou Retton struggling without insurance raises important questions. Her daughter’s crowdfunding campaign is a testament to the power of community support in addressing gaps in the healthcare system.