Gov. Perry and the HPV Vaccine..The Rest Of The Story

Gov. Perry has been taking heat for the controversial executive order he issued four years ago that mandated that all 11- and 12-year-old girls be vaccinated for human papillomavirus, or HPV, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer. The legislature made it non mandatory, and Perry has now admitted that he would handle it differently. He still believes in the vaccine, but he thinks he made a mistake by doing it by executive order.

Many are trying to link his order with political donations. Perry has said he was influenced by many things like his wife (who was a nurse) and the fact that both parents had cancer. But this local story may be the real reason Perry felt so passionate about this. Whether you believe in a mandate or not, no one can doubt Perry’s heart was in the right place.

During the course of the debate Perry met Heather Burcham, 31 years old, who was dying of cervical cancer. She was an activist for this vaccine because she wanted to make a difference and assure no woman would go through what she was going through.

Perry and Heather might have lost the political fight, but that didn’t stop Perry from staying in touch with Heather:

Long after the order was rescinded and Perry lost the political fight, they kept talking. Heather had Perry’s personal cell phone number and he invited her for a day at a friend’s ranch.

Wilson, a friend of Heather’s, recalled, “It was a great day, one of the great days of her life. She loved the whole thing.”

Months later, when the end was near for Heather, Perry quietly snuck into Houston and sat by her bedside. No press, no statement — just the governor and one of his 21 million constituents.

This reminds me of the saying, “Character is what you do when no one is looking.”

Perry has a good heart. Of that I am sure.

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