Texan couple Maria and Jake Grey are facing a devastating choice for the sake of the health of their six-year-old daughter.
Maria and Jake are the parents of two-year-old Fairen and six-year-old Brighton and their eldest daughter was born with the rare genetic condition Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome. The condition has resulted in delayed growth and intellectual development, as well as hearing and vision impairments. Speaking to NBC’s Today, they say Brighton has the developmental age of a newborn.
“She requires 24/7 care,” says Maria, who also spoke about their struggle to keep up with her medical expenses.
Unfortunately due to army veteran Jake's AU$54,000 salary, they don't qualify for Medicaid and despite filing for state assistance, they're currently sitting at number 60,000 on the waiting list. Meanwhile, they say they're spending AU$20,300 annually on medical expenses, even though they have private health insurance.
"It's drowning us,” says Jake.
"We've done everything we can do to try to keep her afloat, and we're going to reach a point where we can't do it and we won't have another option. We don't know what to do."
Now, they're considering divorce so Maria can qualify for Medicaid healthcare as an unemployed single mother-of-two, even though she says it shouldn't have to come to this.
Instead she sees this is a failure of the government, and wants to create awareness for other families in similar situations.
"You try anything when it comes to your child," Maria explains.
“We are not looking for charity, we're not looking for money or donations. We don't want a GoFundMe — we don’t want any of that.
“I need the state to step up and give us the benefits that we need."
Since the Grey family has shared their story, other families have come forward with similar stories too.
"Our daughter came down with a rare blood disease and we just got done doing the same thing so we can afford her treatment happily married for 21 years now divorced just to pay for treatments," read one comment on the NBC Nightly News Facebook page.
Speaking to ABC's WFAA, Jake says having to choose between their marriage and child is a "weird spot to be in," but they won't put their marriage vows above their commitment to Brighton's health.
“It’s morally wrong, I feel like, and I think it’s conflicting for me too, because I feel like what’s happening to us is morally wrong,” he says.
“We promised to each other and to her that we’d do whatever we could do to make her life, however long she’s going to be with us, as good as possible,” Maria said.
Watch Jake and Maria speak about their heartbreaking decision on Today here: