It all started when 14-year-old Samuel got an uncomfortable feeling on the side of his neck just below his jaw. The discomfort became a growth. Eventually the growth made it difficult for Samuel to talk or to eat. His parents didn't know what to do. They didn't have health insurance, and they didn't have money to take him to the doctor. They hoped the growth would go away, but it didn't.
"I could see the worry on my parents’ faces and it made me sad," Samuel said.
Samuel was brought to the U.S. by his parents two years ago and lives in Auburn, Washington. He says it is very different from where he was born. There is more opportunity here and Samuel has big plans for his future. A serious health problem was never part of the plan.
On a visit to Samuel's younger siblings, a social worker from the Children's Home Society of Washington told the family about the state's Cover All Kids law. He said Samuel might qualify for health coverage through the state's Apple Health for Kids program. "I saw my mom's face light with hope," Samuel said. "I began to feel a lot better."
The family completed some paperwork and in just a few weeks they got the health coverage that made it possible to get their son the medical help he needed. The social worker helped Samuel get in to see a doctor and went with the family to the first appointment. Soon, a surgeon removed the growth and after some tense days waiting for test results, the family learned the growth was not cancerous.
The growth is gone—and Samuel's hope is back.