When former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin spoke about the Americans With Disabilities Act on the Democratic National Convention stage Tuesday, one of the men who stood with him was 20-year-old Nathaniel Bone.
When Bone was 15, doctors found a potentially lethal tumor in his brain. After a lot of chemotherapy, the tumor remains, but it’s become manageable and Bone’s prognosis has improved dramatically. But the treatment has left him scarred — he is partially blind, has some trouble walking, and sometimes loses his train of thought.
Going through the treatment fueled his interest in ensuring better health care for others. And that’s part of what led him to Bernie Sanders. Bone liked Sanders’ policies on health care and disability. And when a fellow church-goer, Martha Shepard, told Bone that he might be able to run as a delegate, he decided it was meant to be.
“I’m a very religious person,” Bone said. “And I felt like meeting Martha, and learning about the delegacy process, it was kind of a God thing.”
Nathaniel called his dad right away to tell him about his goal. His dad, David Bone, had been a delegate at age 21, when Bill Clinton first ran for president. Now, father and son started working together to let Nathaniel follow in his father’s footsteps to become a delegate.
In the end, it came down to getting votes, and Nathaniel got enough of them.
David cried. Nathaniel didn’t.
“I don’t think he cries very often,” David Bone said. “He was just very excited because he had won, he likes to win.”
While Nathaniel followed his father’s lead in becoming a delegate, it was David who switched his allegiance from Clinton to to Sanders — to support his son’s delegacy.