For the past year Dawn was the primary care giver for her step-father who lived in the in-law apartment of her home and had Alzheimer’s. When he passed away in September her mother’s health declined and Dawn was in and out of hospitals with her mother providing care until early December when her mother was placed in hospice care and died in her home. Dawn had her own health concerns with several cracked vertebrae from a nasty fall and after long days spent caring for her mother it aggravated them to the point where her pain became so unbearable she was unable to visit her mother just one floor below her the day she died. What no one knew at the time was that the pain from the vertebrae was masking a more serious condition. Two days after her mother died Dawn was rushed to the emergency room after her husband was unable to wake her up in the morning. Upon arriving at the hospital they quickly diagnosed she was in a self-induced coma caused by MRSE induced meningitis.
For the next 5 nights her husband never left her side, her siblings raw in grief from their mother’s death sat in the hospital waiting room in shock, her children took turns to be with her and Mick while juggling childcare, and her church community prayed for her body to fight the infections. After five days of fighting, Dawn’s body became tired and she died in the early morning with her husband by her side.
Dawn not only cared for her step-father and mother, she cared for her family. Dawn’s two younger daughters lived with Dawn as they paid off debt and attended college. Three of Dawn’s grandchildren also lived in the home and relied on Dawn for care. Dawn’s caregiving also extended to her job as secretary and bookkeeper for her church, Irving Park Lutheran Church in Chicago where she worked for 15 years. Dawn was a part time employee and not eligible for health care through her job. Due to lack of health care the family is now working through grief as well as a large financial burden of medical bills from her five days in the ICU and the costs of a funeral and paying bills with one less income.
The medical bills for the hospital stay alone are $200,000 with another $50,000 expected in bills from labs and specialists. Dawn sought some medical care before she was taken to the hospital and paid out of pocket an additional $8,000 on a credit card. And, the cost for cremation is an additional $1,500.
The family would benefit from donations made to help cover the costs of the medical bills, which after negotiations with the hospital will total $37,000 if the payment in made in a one lump payment by February, 2018. The hospital said the additional $50,000 owed to labs and specialist is not part of the “deal.” However, the specialists usually honor the same level of charity care so we are estimating those costs.
The fundraising goal is $58,200 to cover the following:
Hospital debt: $37,000
Labs and Specialist: $10,000 (estimated total after applying for financial assistance with individual billers)
Cremation costs: $1,500
Previous medical debt: $8,000
Gofundme credit card fees: $1,700
If you would like to make a donation with cash or check and not through the gofundme site donations can be sent to:
Irving Park Lutheran Church
3938 W. Belle Plaine Ave
Chicago IL 60618
**Please include a note or write in the memo line of the check that the funds are to go toward: Dawn Benson Memorial.
Irving Park Lutheran giving/fund raising efforts and this go fundme are working together to cover the medical bills and we will update here all progress.
Thank you for the donation!
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