Tom's Respite Home Care Fund


When Sherry Galloway lost her only son to prostate cancer at a shockingly young age of 36, her world crashed down around her as she endured one of the most horrific tragedies a parent can face. Her husband, Tom, was her rock. But after battling prostate cancer too, Tom suffered a devastating stroke three years ago as cancer ravaged his brain; leaving this beautiful couple in catastrophic physical, emotional, and financial distress. Sherry is wasting away from worry and work providing for Tom and can't keep up with the $25 an hour in-home care she needs to support Tom. 

 We need to raise $30,000 to keep my sister and her rock, and the love of her life, together.

 
The brain bleed was extensive, and so was the damage. Tom was paralyzed on his right side and lost the ability to speak. Considering what Sherry had already endured with the illness and death of Jeremy, Tom’s illness was a horrific blow. However, with hours and hours of therapy, and an amazing amount of tenacity on the part of Sherry, and great will on the part of Tom, he eventually was able to walk again with a crutch, and get around. He has thus far not regained his speech, but his cognitive abilities were fine.


Tom was forced to retire. Sherry and Tom live on their Social Security, and while their means are small, they settled into a routine of having Tom participate in various therapies. Sherry is a nurse and was able to do a lot of physical work with Tom, to strengthen both his right and left sides.  Tom became able to ride several miles at a time on an exercise bike, and was, aside from the paralysis, in very good physical shape. Life wasn’t easy, but Tom is a very kind and gentle person, with a great sense of humor, and Sherry is a loving caregiver.

This past spring, Tom started having weird symptoms, such as loss of balance, nausea, and vomiting. After a lot of back and forth with his oncologist, Tom had an MRI of his brain, which showed that the tumor came back and that it was as big, if not bigger, than the one that was removed. Although devastated, Sherry and Tom persevered. They continued doing Tom’s therapies and exercising as much as was feasible. Tom received chemotherapy, which ultimately did not work. Then, this past summer, Tom was accepted into clinical trial for glioblastoma, a virulent form of brain cancer (the kind that John McCain has and that Ted Kennedy died from). Tom does not have glioblastoma, but a rare form of cancer that is common to children and extremely rare in adults. So the clinical trial was a shot in the dark.

 Since late summer, Tom has been participating in the trial. The subsequent MRIs showed that the tumor was shrinking and the tissue dying, which is a good thing. The bad thing, however, is that there are strange side effects that the doctors can’t explain, such as new tumors on the spine, which a biopsy revealed are not cancer, but which seem to be causing Tom extreme pain, weakness, and loss of much of his previously regained functionality.

 Sherry has been Tom’s caregiver, pretty much alone, for over three years. Ten years ago, she was a tireless caregiver to Jeremy. I’m her sister, and I help when I can, but I live 2,000 miles away. Sherry has been a loving, energetic cheerleader and advocate for Tom. However, because of Tom’s deteriorating physical state, she can no longer take care of him by herself. She is 70 years old, a tiny person, and with the stress caused by the situation she is down to about 90 pounds. Since Tom can no longer stand or walk, she cannot move him by herself. If any of you have been a caregiver, it is a 24-hour, 7 day a week job with no respite. It is extremely difficult, not just from the emotional toll it takes on caregiver and patient, but the physical and financial hits as well, which are catastrophic. Sherry’s reserves are pretty much depleted.

Tom was in the hospital for much of the end of December, and is now in a rehab facility. However, he will be released soon to come home.


The bottom line is that Sherry and Tom need in-home help. Medicare does not cover it. They don’t have long-term care insurance. The cost of in-home care is close to $25 per hour. That may not seem like a lot, but given that Sherry may need quite a few hours of help with Tom, it will add up quickly. On behalf of Sherry and Tom, I am asking for donations to enable them to have home health care. I don’t know how many hours they will need or for how long this will go on, but I’m asking you to help me in paying for this at-home care. I am asking for $30,000, which I’m hoping will last until they don’t need it any more. If in the unlikely scenario the money will cover the care, it would only be used for unreimbursed medical expenses and costs involved with making their home more handicapped accessible than it already is. Anything else, I will gladly give back, if I know how to contact you.

 Please help them. You have no idea how much they, and I, appreciate it. And if you are ever in need, and we are in a position to help you, we will. Thank you.

Donations

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  • Anonymous 
    • $10,000 (Offline)
    • 37 mos
  • Paul Taylor 
    • $100 
    • 37 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 38 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 38 mos
  • David Lopez 
    • $200 
    • 38 mos
See all

Organizer

Antonia Gallo 
Organizer
Fairfax, VA
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