Thank you for taking the time to learn my mother’s story.
Five years ago, my mother, Shelly –– the mom, the teacher, the dedicated and beloved community childcare provider –– was diagnosed with late-stage cervical cancer at the age of 44. Devastating though this was, for an independent entrepreneur of nearly twenty years and a proud single mother of two accomplished daughters, this wasn’t a fight from which she was prepared to back down. With the love and support of family and friends, she met the challenge head on and underwent nearly a year of grueling and expensive cancer treatments. After a hysterectomy, months of both chemotherapy and radiation, and a close call with death, all followed by six months of arduous recovery, her cancer miraculously went into remission.
Our immense joy over the success of her treatment was almost immediately tempered by the reality of its financial toll. All told, my mother’s fight with cervical cancer wiped out more than the entirety of her savings and ensured that she would need to continue working at least a decade beyond when she had planned to retire. Having the great fortune of doing what she loves, however, meant for her that this was not an altogether devastating prospect. Caring for others is not only what she does, it’s who she is. My mom has opened her heart and her home to children in need more than once in her life. When I was in high school, a friend of mine and his family were evicted from their home, leaving them homeless and him in sure danger of losing his eligibility to continue attending our school. Knowing she could hardly afford it, my mom took him in without hesitation. She housed him, she fed him, and she cared for him all the way through to the day he graduated from college. These very same instincts and motivations carry forward entirely into what she's done for a living nearly all her adult life. So, as she sees it –– and although it isn’t exactly what she planned –– being burdened by defeating cancer with the opportunity to continue caring for and nurturing young lives well into the future through her work as a childcare provider is as rewarding for her as beating cancer itself.
About two months ago, on March 30th of this year, and less than five years after winning that hard battle against cervical cancer, my mom was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer that has metacisized to the bones. I fail to find the words that adequately convey the level of grief and anxiety our family feels at this time. Although what I can express, regrettably, is that no financial resources remain with which to support her through this second battle. Moreover, and perhaps most tragically, the nature and severity of this latest bout with cancer has forced my mom to permanently close her childcare business –– her primary source of fulfillment and her only source of income. As a result, she is faced with the very imminent prospect of bankruptcy and the certain loss of the humble two-bedroom home that my sister and I were raised in; the home that was also a nurturing daycare and a source of hope and refuge to so many others. So, it is with a desperate and heavy heart that our family asks you for your generous help. Assistance of any amount is more than appreciated. Please just give what you can. And again, thank you.
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