Yesterday, we reported on the tragic story of Ella Edwards, the grieving 61-year-old mom who started a Change.org petition to have her deceased son Jermaine’s $10,800 student loan forgiven. Today, we have a great update to this story: Tom Joyner has pledged to pay the loan on Edwards’ behalf. (Thanks again to our Facebook friend EarthyGirls Trapp for helping us keep an eye on this story.)
Edwards appeared this morning on the “Tom Joyner Morning Show,” telling listeners about her situation. (A transcript of the show is available on BlackAmericaWeb.com.) Edwards said her son died at the age of 24 of what has been deemed natural causes. There had been a life insurance policy (opened in 1986), but he died on March 9, 2009, six days after the final payment on her policy. So the insurance company refused to pay, she said.
Edwards has been paying the debt, but occasionally, the payment is late. She will call the loan administrators — “The National Co-League Trust First Marblehead out of Boston, Massachusetts,” she said — to give them advanced warning, but they still call to collect.
I call and say, if I’m going to be two, if I’m two days late I call them and tell them so they won’t call me, because the calls is so stressful. If I’m going to pay like, if my payment is due on Wednesday, if I call Wednesday and tell them I’m going to pay Friday, they’ll write that down and they’ll tell me the calls is going to continue until you pay. And they do.
Even with the petition, which had collected about 200,000 signatures, Edwards said she wasn’t sure what was going to happen. At that point, Joyner offered to pay the debt.
“Would you stay on the line and give me your account number and all the information, and I’ll pay the $10,800 dollars,” BlackAmericaWeb.com quotes him saying on the air.
Jacque Reid, host of the show’s “Insider Her Story” segment, said Edwards had wanted to be on the show to warn other parents about this sort of thing. “You know, she didn’t want any money, she wanted them to forgive it so she could just go on with her life,” Reid said.
“And I want these parents to know these private loans ain’t nothing to play with,” Edwards added among her final comments. “It will come back. If you lose a child they will drive you crazy. They have been times, I mean, all I can do is fight off not taking my own life, because this stress.”