Meet Marcelas Owens, 11, Health Reform Activist

Seattle fifth-grader lost uninsured mother to illness, became activist
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2010 12:50 PM CDT
Meet Marcelas Owens, 11, Health Reform Activist
Gina Owens hugs grandson Marcelas Owens, March 11, 2010, during a health care news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

That little boy standing at President Obama’s right hand as he signed health care reform legislation into law is, somewhat improbably, one of the nation’s preeminent reform advocates. Marcelas Owens, 11, has been sharing the story of his mother since she died in 2007, uninsured and unable to afford treatment for pulmonary hypertension, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. “I'm signing it for 11-year-old Marcelas Owens,” Obama said of the bill.

“In her memory he has told her story across America so that no other children would have to go through what his family has experienced,” the president continued as Marcelas looked on. The White House website describes the Seattle fifth-grader as “a nationally recognized spokesperson for health care reform,” according the Seattle Times. “It's tough not having my mom around,” he said after the signing. “But she's been with me in spirit every time I talk. I hope I've made her proud.” (Read more Marcelas Owens stories.)

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