I am creating this fundraiser on behalf of my mom who was recently diagnosed with renal carcinoma, kidney cancer. I'd love to share with each of you a little bit more about my family (at the bottom) and my mom's diagnosis. In turn I ask for, most importantly, your thoughts & prayers for our family, and, if you are able, a donation towards helping my mom become cancer free.
About 3 years ago, my mom had to quit working due to a pain in her stomach. Before that she had been going to the doctors regularly for treatment of her diabetes and they had attributed her pain to uncontrolled sugar levels. She was told her to continue to taking her medicines and that bringing her sugar down would be the key to feeling better. Shortly after she quit working, my mom was not able to continue to see any of her doctors because she was no longer insured. At this point she filed for early social security benefits and Medicaid. She was able to begin receiving a reduced amount of social security benefits as a penalty for filing before the age of 65; however, she was denied any Medicaid benefits.
After receiving this news, my mom was really at a loss for what to do. She could not afford to pay for any doctors visits and medications. Luckily, she found a clinic about an hour away from her home that agreed to take her case and work with her. The clinic also believed her pain was stemming from the diabetes. For the past two years they have been working with her to bring her sugars down but unfortunately the pain got worse over time. About a year ago, her doctor finally decided that it might be best to run some additional exams to rule out any other possibilities. The clinic itself did not have the resources to do so however, and they could not refer her for any exams or consultations with a hospital or specialist because she lacked insurance coverage and would have to pay out of pocket.
After much continued pressure, last week the hospital agreed to perform a CT scan on my mom for free that revealed one of her kidneys has a large cancerous tumor, which will inevitably spread to other parts of her body if it is not removed soon. Her entire kidney must be removed because of the size of the tumor. She was also told the pain in her stomach is being caused from this tumor and it has most likely been there for 3 years. Removing her kidney will leave her with one working kidney in addition to diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. The complications and risk are high but her chances of surviving without removing the kidney are much worse, so we decided as a family that surgery was her best option.
Surgeries are very expensive and in this case as my mom doesn't have insurance, we have estimated that the total out of pocket cost is around $30,000 at the very least.
In the past week, my family has organized to locate available resources to help defray the cost of this procedure. She applied for Medicaid again, but she was denied because of her age and because she retired early "by her own will" she is ineligible for any disability benefits. She also applied for healthcare coverage through healthcare.gov (Affordable Care Act), and while she qualifies, based on her income and past medical history her premiums would be more than $600 a month and she would have to meet a $5000 deductible before they are able to cover her expenses.
The good news is we were able to help my mom find a hospital program to cover all of the hospital fees for her stay and my siblings and I are prepared to pay a good portion of her medical costs through savings and working overtime. However, we are doing so knowing that we will come up substantially short from what we need for the procedure. The uninsured access program she is a part of cannot cover the costs of her doctor's fees or specialist fees (labs, radiology exams, etc.). The urologist who is scheduled to perform her surgery has said that his fee alone for this surgery is $10,000. We still have to consider that she will need a internal medicine doctor, an anesthesiologist, an endocrinologist and a cardiologist at the very least to be monitored appropriately before, during and after her surgery. The urologist has agreed to give us a discount on the price if we can raise enough money before the surgery to pay - the date is set for April 24th, 2014. We set our goal of raising $10,000 dollars after taking into consideration what we can contribute and what the estimated costs are going to be for the other doctors.
We also are currently working with the Patient Advocacy Foundation to locate resources and the American Cancer Society to locate non-profits in her area to help out. We know that we won't be able to fundraise all of the costs but we also know that through hard work and the help of our friends and family we will be able to help our mom get the care she needs.
Raising this $10,000 will help to make sure my mom is cared for like she has cared for so many others, so please consider helping us.
About my mom:
My mom's name is Linda and she is currently 64 years old. She is a loving wife, mother and grandmother - she has been married to my father for 42 years, has 5 children and many grandchildren. She was a stay at home mom for some parts of her life, but for the most part, she worked full-time jobs - from landscaping to truck driving to night shifts in convenience stores and eventually stocking/sales in local supermarkets - to help raise my siblings and me.
My mom was not able to complete high school when she was younger, so without an education, she did the best she could to make ends meet. I honestly cannot tell you how much effort she put into making sure that we were taken care of with a roof over our heads and food on our table. She also made sure to encourage and support all of my siblings and I to pursue an education, follow our dreams and never give up.
Most of the things I know and the lessons I've learned in life came from watching her and seeing who she was - hard working, dedicated, strong and truly a life-longer learner. She was the person who taught me to dream big, to keep searching for my next opportunity and fall in love with learning because while she didn't graduate, she never stopped learning and certainly never stopped dreaming. Just a couple of years ago she began to prepare to get her GED and is still working towards that goal. She is my inspiration to do better, to be better every day in this life.
For those of you who know my mom, you know that she would never ask anyone for help. She is as strong as they come and she is the one person who always toughs through things. She was so embarrassed, and in tears, when I told her about this idea that it almost made me forget setting up this fund but then I thought what if this could save her life? What if together with our community we can help her? She gives me hope and takes away my fears and I just want to be able to do the same for her. If you know her, then you also know that she is the one person always trying to help others - constantly thinking of how she can be a person for others. She is as sweet and generous as anyone I know so for once I think it is okay for others to rally for her.
I would do anything to help my mom and dad if they needed it, and right now they really need any help they can get. I appreciate you reading this and I thank you for any prayers or thoughts you set aside for us.
- Linda Marie.
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