The Jane Noles Medical Fund
As a lot of you know, our sister Jane (middle in the photo
here) has been fighting Stage IV (terminal) Rectal Cancer for almost 5 years.
Recent events have put Jane in a dire financial situation, and she needs help.
While she is getting better at asking for help, this (asking others for money)
is something she still finds difficult. She has little choice now, however, but
to accept whatever help we can give.
In a nutshell, Jane's promised and expected disability income and insurance benefits have ceased to continue. And since she is physically unable to work, she has no income. Reaching out to our community of friends, contacts, and more is the only option available to Jane at this time.
Please keep reading as it explains why we have to go this route.
Jane first went on disability (50% of her salary) in 2008, and she worked part-time as often as she could between surgeries, chemo, radiation, and treatment. Eventually, Jane had to make the difficult decision to "retire" from the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC) when it became evident that trying to work was counter-productive. She made that decision only after being assured over and over again by many, many different people at UIC and SURS (State University Retirement System) that her retirement disability benefits would continue after her regular disability benefit ended on September 22, 2012. This meant she would receive the equivalent of 35% her last salary, and most importantly, would continue to receive the same insurance coverage at the same rate for as long as she lived.
WE HAVE JUST LEARNED THIS IS NOT THE CASE!
Recently, while researching information on the SURS website, she stumbled upon a small sentence in fine print stating that employees enrolled in her type of plan are not eligible for the expected retirement disability benefit. This means termination of ALL benefits as of September 22, 2012, both disability income and insurance benefits. This is after YEARS of being told the opposite. This was neither evident at the time of enrolling nor when Jane investigated her retirement disability options with her superiors! We have and will still try to fight for any recourse, however dismal the outcome may seem at this time. A person high-up in her department at UIC is as livid as Jane, as he was very involved in her process of transitioning out of UIC, and he also had been misled and misinformed by several people, some very high up, who said Jane would be getting retirement disability and insurance coverage at the same rate. He recently appealed as much as he could and was shut down basically with "sorry we gave you misinformation time and again, but you are out of luck."
So this is where Jane stands. Many life decisions were made based on that (now misleading) information. She is in active treatment, once again on chemotherapy because her tumors' rate of growth increased, and she's facing many procedures to not only help stop the growth of her cancer, but to try to correct some of the extreme effects from her previous invasive treatments. She lives in chronic pain with much-decreased quality of life. Jane needs insurance "“ and will hopefully be eligible for Medicare in March of 2013, but for now her only option is paying $918.44 every month for COBRA coverage. On top of paying nearly $1000 per month, there are additional copays for medical appointments, procedures, tests, chemotherapy, prescription drugs and deductibles to meet. Add rent and other living expenses on to that. All of this is occurring at the same time her income has gone to $ Zero (having been a State of Illinois employee precludes her from eligibility for Social Security disability assistance - nor does she qualify under Arizona's recently tightened disability/welfare programs).
The very least we need to do for Jane is raise enough money to offset these monthly COBRA premiums, until she can get enrolled (hopefully) in Medicare. If we all get together and donate whatever we comfortably can, and spread the word and the link to this site, we think we can help Jane with this financial mess. We can't do anything to reverse Jane's cancer. However, hopefully with your help we can increase the length and quality of Jane's life and lessen the pain.
So, that is some of Jane's story. Can you help, please?
Robin Sprague and Julie Jonas, Jane's sisters
Posted by Robin Sprague
It has been a while since we posted here. Many of you follow Jane's CarePage or are Facebook friends with her. For those of you that are not aware of her current situation, we post this update. And the news, it is not good.
First, this is Not an urgent plea for funding. The main reason is to share information here with you all, those that have supported Jane during this journey.
Through your financial support and SSI (now receiving after weeding through lots of red tape) Jane has been able to manage her daily living expenses and more of her medical bills... those do still continue to pile up. It's a never-ending story, right?
Since the last update here 15 months ago, Jane was able to take a chemo break for quite a while with relative stability. Then, her cancer activated. First, slowly, her lung mets grew in size and she developed a met in her kidney. So, a round of chemo.... with no good results. So, we went with another chemo process this past January. These side effects were so drastic and happened so quickly, that Jane spent most of the month of February in the hospital. And then at least another two months recovery and getting her body strong enough for more treatment... if that would be her decision.
In early May, Jane began having headaches and problems with her vision, and wheezing. We assumed allergies, sinus infections, etc. and she was treated for those. Jane went to see an ophthalmologist about the floaters and colors in her vision scope. Long story short, that led to a call to the oncologist that led to an MRI, which led to us finding out that her cancer has spread to her brain. That was a bad 24 hours.
Just two weeks ago, Jane went through brain radiation treatments, a palliative procedure to keep the tumor at bay and protect her vision.
This past Friday, Jane met with her oncologist. She wanted to hear the truth and nothing but the truth. Be careful what you wish for. In his words, the cancer reaching her brain is a game changer. And here you go.... a prognosis of about four months.
So, as we still try to wrap our heads around this, wheels are in motion. Jane is traveling back to visit her beloved hometown and her friends in Chicago. And then it's off to her special Ireland, timing is good to see her friend perform in a production at the Galway Arts Festival.
So, what can you do? Please pray for a really good journey for Jane, not only to Ireland but as she ... well, you know. I just can't say it. Visit her CarePage and perhaps write her a note there. If you want to help make her Ireland trip “classier”, you can help her out here. We already know some want to help even though we're not soliciting.
Here is the link to her CarePage: http://www.carepages.com/carepages/JanesHealingJourney
Thank you so, so much, I can already feel your prayers.
Posted by Robin Sprague
This has been amazing. We find ourselves so very fortunate to be so well loved and supported. It is most definitely time to post an update and very much overdue. Again, we say thank you from the bottom of our hearts. If we have not yet contacted you personally as yet, please know that it is not for lack of sincere gratitude. I think I have figured out how to pull the contact information. If you receive this email, that must mean that GoFundMe has it correctly. I think this update may post to Facebook also"¦ I still am not sure how it all (the technology part of this site) works.
We are so very thankful that Jane's last scans a couple weeks ago showed stability "“ meaning no growth to the metastatic tumors which means she can continue with her chemo break. We still are investigating our continuing options for Jane's financial situation "“ we hope she stays with us here on earth for many more years to come. In reality, a wonderful thing but also causing a little fear for her "“ "How do I make it financially?" No income, unable to work and with continuing medical and living expenses.
Two polar opposite sentences: Cancer sucks. We are only about $2700 from our goal and that is amazing. But they go together unfortunately.
We wish you only the best and many, many, many thanks one more time!
Robin (Jane's sister) and the rest of our family
Posted by Robin Sprague
We are so very humbled at the support and generosity and absolute love shown here. I'd like to quote part of a text message that Jane sent me about three hours after this page went live, "this is what people can do when they get together. This kind of love is where my belief systems come from." Yep, the love you have shown speaks to us, our family, and who you all are, your passion, sense of right and goodness.
We will most definitely be thanking each one of you personally ... Tee hee, still trying to figure out things here in the GoFundMe software program. It's not difficult... And I won't say it's me....
We will stay in touch. We are keeping the page open. every little bit helps Jane and a quest toward some type of normalcy.
Speaking for our family, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.