Following is the story of one such person, a young woman who seeks a bridge over her own troubled waters, a place where hope and determination allow her to continue her life as independently as before.
To tell you a little bit about Catherine, I would tell you that she is an animal lover whose tender heart has led her to nurture and foster homeless animals for Rescue Revolution of MS . Two of her shelter dogs came home to live with her, including a semi-feral fabulous dog, and a disabled cat.
It was these animal family members who were her greatest concern when she lost her home.
Catherine also loves music and art, enjoying drawing and crafts at every opportunity. She's also a reader, with Faulkner a favorite author, and she wants to travel, with dreams of Paris and Amsterdam.
In October 2015, Catherine was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. In an effort not to upset her mom, Ann, who had just lost a close friend, she kept a growing tumor and considerable pain to herself until medical intervention became unavoidable. Weeks of chemotherapy and radiation followed, which gives Catherine an 85% chance of survivability. A biopsy in January 2016 revealed no new tumors!
However following her cancer treatment, Catherine began to notice numbness and stinging in her arms and hands. These symptoms progressed to her legs, making it hard to walk. She experienced pain and discomfort from the neck down. A neurologist diagnosed cervical myelopathy, a serious spinal cord injury.
In April 2016, Catherine had corrective neurosurgery with imperfect results, as she continues to experience pain and some disability in her arms, hands and legs.
This may or may not lessen in time. The surgeon told her "the spinal cord can be unforgiving."
It is important to note that throughout this time of treatments and surgeries, Catherine continued to work part-time at her administrative job for a Jackson music store. She continued to be self-supporting for as long as possible, but became overwhelmed by medical insurance premiums, living expenses, medical bills and needed the help of family to stay afloat.
But in July 2016, Catherine was happy to go back to work full-time. This was short-lived, however, when she got the stunning news that her employer was going out of business within the month.
Unbelieveably, it was that same month when she noticed the chimney of her brick townhouse began leaning away from the back wall. The insurer sent a structural engineer who determined that five years previous an improper repair to the roof had allowed water leakage into the back wall which caused extensive damage. The insurer, USAA, refused to pay for any damage due to a contract clause that stated that "earth movement" caused for ANY reason would negate coverage. The house was unsalvageable, as estimates for repairs exceeded the total value of the townhouse.
Catherine lost her home and the investment she had made to acquire it and support it.
So there she was - an unemployed and still recovering cancer patient seeking a new home for herself, her dogs, Sage and Sally, and her disabled cat, Monkey.
Luckily, she found a small rental in the neighborhood and the four moved in - the day before the chimney collapsed.
As all of Catherine's resources are completely depleted at this point and she is scheduled for what she hopes will be her last surgery to remove the chemo port from her chest, what is needed now is that bridge.
Catherine now has a new full-time job with a promising future, but the entry-level salary does not support basic living costs or the paying off of medical debt. Her needs are minimal and include some rent assistance, medical insurance costs, and assistance with medical bills. It is estimated that $15,000 would support Catherine's ability to return to hope and self-sufficiency.
There is an unattributable quote that says, "I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and
say - because of you, I didn't give up." I hope you will find this "want" in yourself and let it encourage you to help build Catherine's bridge.
Written by Ann Pace -
One of Catherine's friends,
- james cajoleas
- Allison Allen
- Paul Williams
Organizer and beneficiary
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