died last Saturday after a four-and-a-half year battle with breast cancer.
Shouse, 41, spent much of her last years fighting for health care reform. When first stricken with cancer, she put off getting treatment because she couldn't afford to pay her insurance policy's $5,000 deducible. Later she found it difficult to get her insurer to pay for procedures that might have saved her life.
Yesterday the Post-Dispatch published a moving obituary
recounting Shouse's life and causes -- she also owned an organic meat business
, advocated for clean energy and public transportation and volunteered diligently for Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
Too late to include in the newspaper's tribute to Shouse yesterday was Obama's speech last night that used her work as an example for others.
From Obama's comments last night
at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser:
I got a letter -- I got a note today from one of my staff -- they
forwarded it to me -- from a woman in St. Louis who had been part of
our campaign, very active, who had passed away from breast cancer. She
didn't have insurance. She couldn't afford it, so she had put off
having the kind of exams that she needed. And she had fought a tough
battle for four years. All through the campaign she was fighting it,
but finally she succumbed to it. And she insisted she's going to be
buried in an Obama t-shirt. (Laughter.)
But think about this: She was fighting that whole time
not just to get me elected, not even to get herself health insurance,
but because she understood that there were others coming behind her who
were going to find themselves in the same situation and she didn't want
somebody else going through that same thing. (Applause.) How can I
say to her, "You know what? We're giving up"? How can I say to her
family, "This is too hard"? How can Democrats on the Hill say, "This
is politically too risky"? How can Republicans on the Hill say, "We're
better off just blocking anything from happening"?
Actually, Mr. President, I believe Shouse was cremated -- not buried -- in her Obama t-shirt.
Read more about Shouse here
. Hat tip to St. Louis Activist Hub.