‘Beav’ promotes drug help plan

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Brookhaven’s Monnie Britt said he’s watched “Leave It To Beaver”for as long as he can remember, and Tuesday at King’s DaughtersMedical Center he got the chance to meet the star of one of hisfavorite shows.

“Never missed it,” Britt said, adding that he couldn’t name afavorite episode. “Just the whole thing. I just loved themall.”

Britt, 61, was one of many Lincoln County residents who turnedout Tuesday to see Jerry Mathers, who starred as “The Beaver,” oneof the most popular television characters of all time.

And Mathers and Britt actually have something in common. Bothare diabetics.

Mathers said his mission is to reach out to the uninsured andtell them there is hope available for their medical problems in thecurrent economic crisis.

“It’s hard to have a chronic disease, especially in hard times,”Mathers said. “Most people put what little money they have towardrent and food, and prescription drugs go at the end of theline.”

Mathers was in town to promote the Partnership for PrescriptionAssistance, a program that has helped more than 5 million Americanswithout prescription coverage find programs that can help them payfor their medicines. The program is able to help with providingmore than 2,500 brand name and generic medicines that consumers canget free or nearly free.

“We’re helping people that need medicine,” he said. “We have todo what we can to help, and if we don’t, it could end up costingthe system a lot more because people’s conditions just keep gettingworse and they have to go to the emergency rooms. We help them findclinics – we act like a conduit.”

Mathers sat by a big orange bus outside KDMC, signing autographsfor fans and telling them how to find help for their medicalissues.

“You can really sustain your life with medication through manychronic diseases, and the sad thing is there are people who don’tknow they could be getting their prescriptions for free, or almostfree,” Mathers said.

Meanwhile, he said his visit to Brookhaven, while short, waspleasant.

“Towns like this have a quaintness – and I mean that in a goodway – for people who come from the city,” he said. “I think sincepeople in a big city are mostly never going to see each otheragain, they’re ruder, and people here are nice and polite andgenerous. It’s been a pleasure to meet everyone here.”

“Leave It To Beaver” is the longest running scripted show intelevision history, on the air for 51 years, and is broadcast in 89languages in 120 countries. Mathers said while he enjoys therecognition, he’s just glad it gives him a platform for PPA.

“It’s easy for me to go around and promote these things becausepeople come to see me, but a lot of them don’t know about thisprogram,” he said. “And even if the people that come just to see medo have insurance, everyone knows someone that needs help from aprogram like this.”

Anyone interested in information on PPA can call 888-4PPA-NOW. Atrained specialist will answer questions and help with theapplication process, Mathers said.