The PJ Tatler

Video: Heather Burcham and Gov. Rick Perry

Shortly before Heather Burcham died of cervical cancer in 2007, Gov. Rick Perry made sure that she enjoyed some of the best days of her life. It’s an overused cliche to say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but that cliche applies ten-fold to the photo at the begging of this video.

“She’s happy as hell. I mean, she is just unbelievably ecstatic. Here she is on some beautiful ranch somewhere, riding on a motorcycle, which she’s never really done…with the governor of the state of Texas….”

How you get from a young woman dying with cervical cancer, to motorcycling with a governor, is a story worth telling.

In 2007, Heather met Gov. Perry. Far more than just a meeting, though, it sparked a friendship and long after the order was rescinded and Perry lost the political fight, the two kept talking. Heather had Perry’s personal cell phone, and he invited her for a day at a friend’s ranch.

Craig Wilson (Heather’s friend): It was a great day, it was one of the great days of her life. She loved the whole thing.

Months later, when the end was near for Heather, Perry quietly snuck into Houston, and sat by her bedside. No press, no statement. Just the governor, and one of his 21 million constituents, for hours.

Mary Lee (Heather’s friend): I think he truly had a heart, for this young girl.

He did. Those of us who have spent any time at all around Rick Perry, and I’ve spent a few minutes around him here and there over the past couple of years, recognize how well this story fits with the man we’ve seen up close. That’s just him.

It’s fair to argue the policy on the merits, but to ascribe the Gardasil order to some ulterior motive just doesn’t square with the character of the man at all.