Tanya spent 17 years as a Navy wife, often working up to 3 jobs at a time to help support her growing family. She currently works full-time as an Emergency Room nurse and is now a single mother to her 5 amazing children:
Kyle (18) is beginning his freshman year at the University of Maine in just a few weeks.
Caitlin (15) is a sophomore in high school. She suffers from Tuberous Sclerosis (a rare, multi-system genetic disease that causes benign tumors to grow in the brain and on other vital organs such as the kidneys, heart, eyes, lungs, and skin. It usually affects the central nervous system and results in a combination of symptoms including seizures, developmental delay, behavioral problems, skin abnormalities, and kidney disease) which has led to multiple brain surgeries and lifelong seizure disorders. She also has severe Autism and requires constant care and supervision.
Emily (12) is beginning 6th grade and the adventure of middle school.
Aiden (8) is starting 3rd grade.
Shaylee (5) will be starting Kindergarten this fall.
This spring, Tanya found multiple lumps in her breast. On June 16 – the day of her oldest child’s high school graduation – she underwent a biopsy which confirmed that she has Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. This particular type of breast cancer also significantly increases her risk of ovarian cancer. Her long journey to recovery begins on July 31, 2014, when she will undergo a double mastectomy and full hysterectomy. This surgery will require a minimum of 4 weeks of recovery time, during which she will be completely unable to work. She will then begin a course of chemotherapy which will last from 4 to 6 months. While we are hopeful that Tanya will be able to work during chemo, there are no guarantees of that. If she is able to work during chemo, it will be at best half of her usual hours/income if not less. Unfortunately, Tanya is not eligible for FMLA leave due to not yet having worked the required minimum number of hours for her current employer. Her request for Short Term Disability has also been denied. She has already exhausted her paid Earned Time Off for medical appointments and her hospitalization in January of this year for a separate issue. Therefore, her 4 week recovery from surgery and any time off during chemotherapy will be unpaid time off.
Tanya’s current income is roughly $1800/bi-weekly or $3600/month. The family’s ongoing expenses and current medical and school debt are as follows:
1) $50,000 in outstanding medical bills from her January hospitalization
2) Monthly mortgage payment of $2000
3) College tuition of $14,000 due in August (or split into 2 equal payments of $7,000 each due in August and October)
5) Food, clothing, school supplies, etc. for 5 children
Of course, there will be substantial medical bills resulting from Tanya’s upcoming surgeries and chemotherapy as well. Additionally, Caitlin will require specialized care during Tanya’s recovery (up to 7 months total), which will create a significant additional expense.
Tanya’s family and most of her close friends are too far away to offer hands-on help during this challenging time. What we can do – family, friends, and strangers alike – is donate to her cause through this site. Even if $5.00 is all you can spare, every little bit makes a huge difference! Whether you donate or not, please, please share this site – via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email…at your church or place of business…wherever and whenever you can.
Thank you so much for taking time to read Tanya’s story and for donating and/or sharing.
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