My name is Catherine Ellis and I have started a Go Fund Me campaign along with my family and loved ones to help with my medical expenses.
I have been battling medical struggles my entire life. In 2001, I was diagnosed with spinal cord injury that changed the direction of my life and how I coped daily in life. I was catastrophically injured in two car accidents.
I then was diagnosed with Melanoma, which went behind my eye and into the the brain. A bump on the side of my eye that I thought was nothing was something. As soon as the doctor in London saw me she did a biopsy and phoned me to come in. She discovered from that biopsy that a tumour was behind my eye and later it was also found in my brain. I kept these challenges fairly private, as I wanted to focus my life on helping others while fighting for my health.
I am so thankful that I have met incredible doctors, patients and friends along the way who have helped me through surgeries, procedures, physical therapy, speech therapy, vestibular therapy, and occupational therapy over the last 17 years. I have spent my life in and out hospitals. I was sent to a rehabilitation hospital in London where I learned how to do daily activities like getting dressed, and tying shoes. I also received physical, verbal and emotional help to live my new life. It was a very difficult and dark journey at times. However, I made friends and helped others on the brain and spinal floor face their diagnosis and continued to be asked to come and see patients to share my journey and give hope to those newly diagnosed.
When I was hurting my mom and dad, Reverend Roger and Lynda Ellis were there to help me along with my sister Sarah Ellis and a handful of friends and cousins that stayed by my side. I am forever grateful for their love and support. My parents, sister, cousins and a few friends have been trying to help me with the expenses and my care for years. I would not be where I am today without them helping me navigate my medical journey.
I continue with monthly treatments that are not covered as I maxed out the health care provided for me. With my family’s support I have been able to pay for my medications and treatments out of town. But it has become increasingly difficult for me to be able to pay for increasing medical costs because I’m not able to work and my parents are both retired and live on a fixed income.
My spinal cord injury is classified as catastrophic impairment of 87 % of my body for the rest of my life. This is not easy to write and speak about. Through hard work I feel I have improved in that diagnosis through mindset, dedication and hard work.
The medications I take cost $ 3,000 -$4,000 dollars a month, and are not covered as I have already reached my lifetime cap for health care. These drugs are not approved for any other grants as I have already reached a million dollars' worth of physical and medical coverage.
Additionally, I have an extra $1,500 that I have to cover every 10 weeks for the drug Botulinum Toxin. The company did all they could and gave me compassionate pricing. They covered as much as they could leaving the extra $1,500 for me to pay. Those set expenses are for the rest of my life in order to help with pain, balance, spinal chord damage in the cervical spine, Post Traumatic Spasmodic Torticollis, severe TMJ ,migraines that I get weekly and keep me in bed for days. This medicine also helps with my visual, and brain training issues.
During these challenging years,
I learned that without your health it makes daily life so much more difficult. My illness has taught me that I have a choice to fight for my health with hope and faith or simply give up in despair. I have always been a fighter. When one medical option closes, I look for another medical route to help me pass the obstacle that I’m facing at that time.
I have also learned that helping others is, and has always been, my life's work. Before I was was catastrophically injured by two car accidents I was employed by St Clair Child and Youth Services as a resource teacher, working one on one with children in their school settings. I loved my job.
In September, 2018. I was put in touch with a team of doctors who heard of my medical issues, my long medical history since childhood and story of all the things I have overcome. They saw videos that I didn’t know doctors had taken of me with other patients. I helped make families feel at ease with procedures, encouraging adults and children facing very difficult diagnoses through joy and love. I have done that happily and I love helping wherever I can. My medical life story inspired a team of doctors at a Toronto hospital to look at me as their first patient in the world to receive a new deep brain surgery.
With my latest set of medical issues I have come to a place after much thought, prayer and consultation that I needed to listen to the voice inside my heart, my medical team, friends and family to personally reach out and ask for financial help to be able to pay for my growing medical expenses. My brain surgery that took place in late September requires me to meet with my surgical/brain team for treatments in Toronto which just switched to a bi-weekly schedule for at least the next two and half years. This adds to my financial medical burden with the cost of travel, lodging, parking and food in Toronto. The financial burden of my healthcare has been a real strain on my family who is retired and myself because I cannot work to support myself because of my health.
I’m inviting you to join in my Go Fund Me Campaign to help me meet my financial needs for my health care over the next 2.5 years.
I would like to thank those who have already reached out to me and who are supporting me with love, prayers, gifts and donations. I am thankful for your consideration for my ongoing medical support. I promise to be a good manager of the gifts of support that I receive to help me carry the burden of my care.
It would mean the world to me if you could take five minutes out of your day to share my story to as many people as possible. A quick email or a Facebook post will make all the difference in a successful fundraising campaign for my medical journey.
The gratitude for your kindness and generosity is immeasurable. Your support humbling, and I thank you from the bottoms of my heart for any and all contributions.