I am approaching 59 years of age, happily married to my lovely Bride near 25 years, and have a beautiful Daughter of 20 years. Like any Great American Family, we have our own house complete with mortgage, car payment, utilities, and all of the insurance needs we can afford.
I was raised a farm kid and in the family Full Service Gas and Auto Maintenence business, developed a knack for fixing just about anything mechanical especially motor vehicles which, after graduating High School, became by default my career. Today, I find myself managing a rural 5 franchise auto dealership. The perception many folks might have would be that a person in my position should not have much to worry about. That perception about me would be correct until the month of my 54th birthday.
Prior to September of 2012, seeking medical attention was reserved for bad cold or flu type stuff I could not shake or just a routine check-up. My 54 year physical revealed a "pleural effusion" in my right lung cavity. In english, there was a presence of fluid invading the space between my inner chest wall and lung. As the volume of fluid increases, it crowds the lung and forces it to evade by collapsing. My Dr. sent me to the local Pulmonary clinic. Not a day or 3 later, but now.
By thoracentesis, 1 litre of fluid was extracted and a sample sent to a lab that tested for Mantle-Cell NH Lymphoma. A few days later, I find myself in the local Cancer Center where a Bone Marrow Biopsy was in order.
The plan: 6 RCHOP chemo treatments, 1 every 3 weeks. An Autologous Bone Marrow transplant (or Stem Cell Transplant).
Not planned: A near death bout with Pneumonia and MRSA between treatment number 4 and 5. 5 Colonoscopies to remove pre-cancerous polyps. Internal bleeding into the already messed up lung cavity resulting in Thoracotomy surgery to clean it out. A total of about 10 months off work. 3-4 of those months were spent in a Hospital.
With the backstory now behind me, the post treatment issues, although minor, are quite annoying but sure beat the alternative. The realization that this ordeal has no end and has re-arranged our lifestyle is setting in.
My house needs a new roof and new floors. Funds for my Daughter's education are gone. Cash from Insurance policies....gone. Retirement money....gone. My wife and kid are my caregivers, a job that pays nothing. There is a never ending stream of Medical Bills flowing through the Postal service into my mailbox. Adding to that misery, my Family Health Insurance has risen from $8,000 per year to $16,300 just in the last few years.That is a $1358 payroll deduction per month, not including the employer part, excessively, if not totally consuming our lives (a persons ailment is no longer a factor in calculating premium).
My Daughter was cheated out of a couple of her teen years caring for her Dad who can no longer support her college years.
All of that has brought me here to ask anyone who finds this page for your donation to help us recuperate something to get the house fixed and give my kid a jump start. Anything you may give will be greatly appreciated. If you are unable to give, please share this post and keep us in your prayers. Thank you for listening.
- Cherish Benefield
- Tony and Keddy Kelly
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