Hello, my name is Sharlene Pike and I am a black transgender person originating from South Africa and working as a receptionist/host. I moved to the United States 4 years ago alone and without any support, as my parents died in my home country when I was 18. Being a transgender black female immigrant places three discrimination barriers and makes it extremely hard to socialize and find a job to live properly. Nevertheless, I tried my best. I had been working at 7 different companies as a receptionist/host/waitress for these four years, but 2 months ago I lost my job. The reasoning I was given - 'staff reduction due to COVID-19 complications'. I have been unemployed for these 2 months, but the reason I can't start a new job is not COVID-19. In February, I was diagnosed with stage-3 esophageal cancer. I had no prior knowledge of my diagnosis as this type of cancer can be quite concealed, and I had only two or three weeks of eating discomfort before I had a medical consultation. The company I was working at had a special program to support staff members who need expensive surgeries or therapies, and I believe my diagnosis was the true reason I was reduced, since it happened just after I told my office I might need an extended medical leave. The sum I have spent on the medical procedures only to clarify the future treatment equals my 3 salaries. The sum I’m asking for is actually covering first 8 months of treatment and the cheapest drug - basically simply to have a chance to survive. I have no health insurance and I can’t take a new job because my health condition significantly deteriorated. The thing that I have learnt throughout these months is that it is very hard to get any, even basic medical help if you are transgender. The death rate of the esophageal cancer is about 30%, which is very high, and I ask you to help me to have a chance to survive. I tried to deal with everything without anyone by my side, but current circumstances left me with no choice but to ask you to donate and share my story. Thank you very much.
- Alanna Lemky
- Jess Pope