In November of 2012, my daughter, Tamara Anne Helmick Walker, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Appendix Cancer, a rare, aggressive disease. Appendix Cancer is seldom diagnosed in the early stages and by the time it's discovered, it has already spread...once diagnosed, it is extremely resistant to treatment. Tami had, for many months complained of troubling gastrointestinal symptoms, and other "vague" symptoms that were, by and large, ignored by everyone she saw. Unable to cope with the bloating, pain, nausea and almost constant vomiting, Tami, on October 31st, had exploratory abdominal surgery, and fluid and tissue samples were biopsied. Within two weeks, she was under the care of an Oncologist and by December 19th, she began Chemotherapy. After 8 rounds, it was clear that her cancer was not responding and she was referred for more aggressive treatment. Unfortunately, Tami became too ill to be considered for any further surgery. She had a brief, encouraging response to one of the new "biological " treatments, but the side effects have proven to be devastating. Tami has little time left and she has chosen to spend that time with her family.
Tami has been married to James for 19 years, she has 2 sons, Gabriel (18) and Liam (10). Tami's husband and both of her sons have CMT Muscular Dystrophy and Liam is also Autistic. Tami has been the internal strength and core for her family. Her amazingly strong faith in God, and her unconditional love for her husband and children have been the foundation of that strength. Tami's sense of integrity, brightness of spirit, engaging sense of humor and infectious laughter are the foundation of this beautiful woman's essence. A warm heart, a wickedly sharp wit and an incandescent smile are her trademark attributes. Tami also worked full time for U.S. Cellular for over 7 years, only giving up her position because she felt it more important to care for her oldest son following his spinal surgery in Dec 2011. James works full time, and is the sole income provider for his family, but the care costs for Tami's cancer have been overwhelming. Even with the blessings of insurance, they are in an extremely fragile financial position. Even with help from friends and family and church, it's been difficult to cover food, household expenses and monthly bills. In addition, the medical costs are staggering. Sadly, many creditors are concerned with their corporate "bottom line" and care little for the physical, and emotional destruction Tami and her family are experiencing.
As Tami's story begins to write it's final pages, we, her family and friends, must ask for help. Any monetary gift will make a huge difference towards lifting the financial burdens under which they labor. In advance, we thank you and ask God's richest blessings for you.
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