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Parker Jensen A Year Later

Parker Jensen A Year Later

Posted - Aug. 17, 2004 at 10:24 p.m.



This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Richard Piatt Reporting A 13-year old named Parker Jensen made headlines last year when his family defied doctors, insurance companies and eventually a state order to start chemotherapy to treat a deadly form of cancer. That decision cost the family dearly. But one year later, the Jensens say they wouldn't change a thing.

Parker looks like he's doing well; he's very active, his parents say he's healthy. But the Jensen's story doesn't end there, the family says its paying a price for defying the state.

Parker Jensen is an active 13-year old who has never slowed down. But life isn't quite so carefree for Daren and Barbara Jensen. They’re on the verge of losing their home, they say, financially devastated by legal bills and living expenses without a job.

In a conversation in their living room, they blame bad state laws and the people who applied them -- still saying their defiance was worth it.

Daren Jensen, Father: “Everything we’ve ever wanted, we have. And that’s what we fought for.”

One year ago this week, Daren Jensen was in jail, facing kidnapping and child neglect charges for refusing chemotherapy to Parker; taking him to Idaho and away from Utah's legal reach. Both charges were later dropped.

Today, the Jensen's still disagree with several doctors that Parker has Ewing's Sarcoma.

Barbara Jensen, Parker's Mother: “Well, we’re still going to the same doctor that we wanted to go to from the very beginning.” Q- And he said everything is fine? “Oh yeah, we’re doing good.”

Parker Jensen: “I feel great. I’ve been running around doing normal kid stuff.”

¶Parker is a kind of celebrity these days: He Enjoys life, but he's still vaguely haunted by last summer's ordeal.

Parker Jensen: "You know nothing really scares me anymore, but it annoys me because it's always on my mind, so I try not to think about it."

The Jensens acknowledge they have a struggle ahead of them, financially most of all. But they still plan to fight to strengthen parents’ rights in Utah laws.

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