Created By:  Jayne Dukes

My friend, Nena Montgomery, has been diagnosed with four life-threatening illnesses within the last five years. Due to the severity of her health problems and inability to work, she now faces substantial financial difficulties including losing her home.

Nena was diagnosed with Scleroderma {systemic sclerosis} in 2009. It is a chronic connective tissue disease and one of the most visible manifestations of her disease is a hardening of the skin. The areas of Nena’s body currently affected are her abdomen and thigh.

In January 2014, she was diagnosed with systemic Lupus. She is unable to stand on her feet for more than an hour. Currently, there is no successful treatment for Lupus. Her physician suggested Cytoxan chemotherapy although the side effects are severe; i.e., ovarian/cervical cancer, heart problems, and there is no guarantee the chemo will improve her condition. When the medical treatment produces a net result worse than the disease, it is the lesser of two evils to decline the proposal. Nena decided the serious side effects and cost outweigh any possible disease improvement.

In February 2014, a biopsy diagnosed Autonomic Neuropathy brought on by Lupus. This causes Nena to suffer with severe dizziness and unbalance.

In July 2014, she was bitten by a tick and within a week developed a bull’s-eye rash at the site of the bite. ELISA, the test used most often to detect Lyme Disease was performed and she tested positive for the Antibodies to B. burgdorferi. She has been treated with Doxycycline, an antibiotic, but now suffers with PTLDS – Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome; e.g., extreme fatigue, pain, and joint/muscle aches. Her physician believes the lingering symptoms {auto-immune responses} are the result of residual damage to tissues and the immune system that occurred during the initial infection further exacerbated by both Lupus and Scleroderma.

Prior to the onslaught of various maladies, Nena was the Assistant Tennis Pro at our local country club. She was an excellent teacher and loved her job! She was born in Croatia where her father coached soccer and tennis. She was competing in tournaments by the age of 10 and at 15, she was invited to the United States to compete in the “Junior Orange Bowl” where she finished in the top eight. The college scouts who saw her play were impressed and Nena was offered scholarships from four universities. She chose to attend North Carolina State University. Once she received her degree, she decided to remain in the states and became a citizen in 2011.

Nena put in long hours as a Tennis Pro, but as it is so often these days, her employer designated her as a “Seasonal Part-Time Employee” therefore, she was not eligible for disability.

She filed for Social Security disability but was denied in May 2014; she then appealed in June 2014. Nena’s attorney has advised her that the timeframe for her appeal hearing will be 90-150 days. Seventy-five percent of appeals are denied, and then the case is rescheduled for a date 12-15 months later. To recap, she hasn’t even had the appeal hearing, but more than likely when it occurs, she will once again be refused. Then, she will have to wait a year to year and a half for another hearing.

Nena’s overload of health problems has been extremely stressful but to make a bad situation even worse, she and her husband are now on the verge of losing their home. The medical bills combined with Nena’s job loss have depleted their savings. They have enough money to make one more mortgage payment ($866.00) for September.

Nena and her husband, Peter, were married in October 2012; theirs is a young marriage fraught with continual bombardment of sobering, life-altering, health ailments.

Nena has an eight-year daughter, Mia, who inherited her Mom’s natural physical agility on the tennis court! She is already in competition and winning tennis tournaments.

Peter is a responsible, hard-working young man who strives to keep his family afloat during their health and financial crisis. They are struggling to provide a home for Mia as well as obtain the best medical options for Nena; but honestly, they cannot seem to catch a break. They are in dire straits.

Please consider making a contribution to help Nena, Peter, and Mia. The funds will be used toward medical care and to keep a roof over their heads. They have weathered numerous and traumatic struggles. Your assistance would very much be appreciated!

There but for the Grace of God go I.


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Nena Montgomery 
Raleigh, NC
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