Disability rights advocate and former Kansas City Star reporter Finn Bullers died Sunday from complications of an illness.
Bullers, 52, died about 1 p.m. Sunday at Providence Medical Center of heart failure brought about by pneumonia, said his ex-wife, Anne Christiansen-Bullers. They had two children, Alora and Christian Bullers.
Bullers, who had muscular dystrophy and diabetes, was a reporter at The Star for nearly 15 years. He left the news business in 2009 when his disability made it too hard for him to do the work required of a journalist.
Bullers became a full-time advocate for people with disabilities and fought changes in KanCare that limited the amount of in-home care he and other Kansans were allowed.
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In a column for The Star in July, Bullers wrote about the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and how it made it possible for him to take his son to see the Rolling Stones at Arrowhead Stadium.
Bullers, who was a policy adviser for the Greater Kansas City Spinal Cord Injury Association, wrote that despite the advances, there was still much work left to do, including three major obstacles: enforcement, employment and quality care.
Bullers was a supporter of the Affordable Care Act and helped manage the state field office for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
The United Spinal Association published a tribute to Bullers on its website, saying he “brought a tenacious approach to fighting for a number of key advocacy issues” including customized wheelchairs and expanding Medicaid in Kansas to include greater in-home care.
Because of his efforts, the association named Bullers its 2014 Advocate of the Year.
More recently, Bullers, as Midwest regional coordinator for the Accessible Icon Project, lobbied local governments to adopt new signs that show a more modern, active version of a person who uses a wheelchair.