Peace Corps rejection

February 17, 2011

Chefchaouen, Morocco 2007

I finally heard back about the status of my Medical Review from the Peace Corps yesterday – bad news.  I have been officially NOT accepted into the Peace Corps because I did not pass the Medical Review thanks to having rheumatoid arthritis.  The woman on the phone really didn’t have much additional information (nor did she seem to know what she was talking about when I tried to ask questions).  She just kept saying that I wasn’t accepted because of one of my medications, Remicade, and that I need to have lab work done every three months because my condition is chronic.  I think she repeated this at least three times.  Yes, yes I understand.  I tried to bring up the fact that I have lived in both Ireland and France and while living abroad found a way to get the medication and treatment I needed to keep my RA stable.  She just told me that I’ll be receiving a letter from the Peace Corps soon with instructions detailing how to write and submit an appeal.  I’ve decided I will submit my appeal and see what happens.  What else can I do?  Despite having a chronic illness, I really do think I would be a great asset to the Peace Corps and could make it be a wonderful experience.  I realize on their end that I am probably a risk and liability to them, but I still don’t think it’s quite fair.

5 Responses to “Peace Corps rejection”

  1. David Says:

    As a returned Peace Corps volunteer, I find your rejection rather unfair. While Peace Corps needs to determine that a potential volunteer does not have any serious health problems, their screening of older volunteers borders on age discrimination. During my volunteer days, I witnessed immature volunteers get into motorcycle accidents, and commit acts of rudeness and irresponsibliy that could have jeopardized Peace Corps programs in the country. But Peace Corps appears to be more concerned with perfect health than with the emotional stability an older volunteer would likely bring to the assignment. You should appeal your rejection.

    • Angela Says:

      Hi David,

      Thanks for your comment and for reading my blog. However, I did not get rejected by the Peace Corps for being old. I’m not old. I was rejected because I have a chronic illness, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and because I take immune system suppressant medications for it. And, I did appeal their decision and they stuck by their original rejection. So there’s nothing more I can do about that, it seems. Yes, very unfair.

  2. Caitlin Says:

    Dear Angela,

    I am on Remicade as well (albeit for Crohn’s Disease), but have had a hard time finding ways to fund my treatment while living abroad. My current insurance plan won’t cover treatment outside of the U.S. and I’d ideally like to stay abroad for longer than the 2-month Remicade interval.

    You mention that you were able to get treatment in France and Ireland. Chance you might be willing to share some advice?

    Thanks!
    Caitlin

    • Angela Says:

      Hi Caitlin!
      Thanks for your comment. Where are you living abroad? Actually, I had different insurance when I lived in Ireland. The insurance I have now, I had when I lived in France and they technically don’t cover outside of the U.S. either. But, I had a crazy thing happen with my rheumatology group dropping me as a patient once I was already in France and my insurance company wound up agreeing to reimburse me for my Humira that I managed to get while in France. A coworker there, her husband is a doctor and they helped me a lot to get me my Humira. Otherwise I would’ve had to go home. It’s a long messy story. Feel free to send me a personal email if you want to talk more about this!

      Good luck! I’m still trying to find a way to move back abroad and still be able to get my RA meds taken care of. It’s tough.

      Angela

      • Caitlin Says:

        Hi Angela,

        Big thanks for your response! Not sure if I could replicate the maneuver, but I’m glad it ultimately worked out for you.

        I’m actually still in the U.S., but am considering whether it is feasible to change careers into one based primarily overseas. The search for an insurance option continues…

        Best of luck with your own search!
        -Caitlin


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