Charlotte's Next Chapter in Healing

Growing up, our family struggled. I remember my mother sitting at the table, poring over bills and budgets, a look of concern on her face. Somehow my parents always did it, they always found a way to make it work. On top of just "getting by" they also managed to pull themselves out of poverty and make a good life for all of us. They also helped pull other people up along the way.

Out of all the amazing things my parents taught me, perhaps the biggest was instilling a strong work ethic in me and teaching me that we don't walk around with our hands held out asking for  charity. Instead, we dig in our heels, grit our teeth and forge a path for ourselves.

That's definitely the example they always set in their own actions and they continue to do so today. 

My mother has been fighting cancer for two years now. When we first got the diagnosis we were all stunned. She went in to have a mass removed and we were all pretty certain it was nothing to be concerned about. I will never forget the phone call when I casually called my dad to make sure everything went okay with the surgery only to find out that all of our lives would change forever on that day. 

"Your mother has cancer. It's pretty big."

Since then, it's been the biggest, most emotional and painful journey for us all. My mother most of all, of course. 

She started with conventional treatment and came out the other side sicker and weaker and with less hope than when she had entered it. The next step the doctors suggested held, by their own admission,  very little hope. So she started her "alternative treatments"......and the tumor started to shrink! She stayed on a rigid diet, giving up all sugar, grains and dairy. She took many supplements, spent time in the sauna everyday and much, much more.  We were all so hopeful. I remember not too long ago her actually saying "I don't even feel like I'm living with cancer anymore." 

Our entire family breathed a collective sigh of relief. After seeing the unspeakable suffering my mother had endured, it appeared that she had done it. She had beat cancer all on her own.

Then suddenly it changed directions and started to grow again. 

And now it's grown so large that it makes walking almost impossible. She spends most of her days with her legs elevated to try and keep the swelling down. The growing tumor is blocking the lymph flow. She
is in almost constant pain and, despite the brave face she paints on for us all, I know she fears for her life. 

Which brings us to the next step in her cancer journey. After extensive research and actually communicating with people who have had borderline miraculous success with their treatments, she has settled on Reno Integrative Medical Center's 3-Week Intensive Treatment. This center combines the best of the "alternative" treatments (such as high dose vitamin-C therapy) with conventional treatments (such as low dose chemotherapy). Some of these treatments (such as low dose chemo) should be covered by insurance but most won't. The medical laws in this country are different in Arizona and Nevada. There are cancer treatments they can use there that are used in many other countries and proven to be quite effective. 

No one is saying it out loud but I'll say it right now for all of you who love my mother and know how precious and amazing she is...this is our last hope. 

And this hope comes with a hefty price tag. 
The three week therapy is $25,000-27,000
Then she will have to return once a month for one week, three months thereafter for $5000 each week. 
None of these costs include travel and lodging. While this is ALOT of money, it's actually a small fraction of what has been spent (by insurance) for chemo, radiation, and two surgeries that has left my mother still fighting cancer. 

So my parents always taught me that you don't ask others to help you when you can help yourself. My dad has been the living testament of this. He has restored and sold cars, emptied savings, taken a second mortgage and done everything in his power to deliver his most beloved wife back to health. 

And he is weary. He has exhausted all options. 

So, Mom and Dad, I know you told me never to ask for a handout. I know you cringed when I made the last GoFundMe account (yet cried with gratitude as the love, in the form of dollars, started to pour in) but it's time that you rest your weary heads for just a moment on the shoulders of all your friends and family who love you so much. It's time you allow others to give back to you after you've spent a lifetime of giving. For every person I grew up seeing living in our basement, on our couch or driving one of your vehicles in order for them to get a leg up in life, I want you to have an opportunity to know what that feels like. That relief of someone else holding out a hand and helping to lift you up in your darkest hours. 

So with all pride swept aside I ask everyone to give. Give generously. Share this page with everyone. Try to make it go viral. Thinking about our family living without my mother is like thinking about living without our breath. Anyone who knows her knows the wise, yet somehow innocent woman she is. Her selfless love and guidance have touched countless lives. She has experienced so many struggles throughout her life, had so much she could've grown bitter over but she has always managed to find happiness and hope in every situation. Please help her keep that hope. This is supposed to be the time in her life where she's starting to let go of all the pressures of life she's carried on her shoulders since she was a child and enjoy her approaching retirement. Instead, she is fighting for her life and in pain every day. 

So one last time I ask you all to dig deep. Not for me but for my mother and my father who lives are literally depending on it. My mother is one of the strongest, most positive people I know but I see her losing hope. She never says it but I see it. 

Every donation is also a powerful message to both my parents that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. WE ALL BELIEVE IN AND LOVE YOU.

Please share our story with everyone. Share it every day. Share it every single time you think of my beautiful, precious mother who none of us are ready to live without.
  • Anonymous 
    • $500 
    • 55 mos
  • Steven Case 
    • $100 
    • 55 mos
  • Mike Shows 
    • $500 
    • 55 mos
  • Tom Barto 
    • $1,000 
    • 55 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $250 
    • 56 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Tammi Barbagallo 
Rutherford College, NC
Charlotte Barbagallo