Shelli has been fighting for her life for ten years against a relentless and insidious form of metastatic breast cancer that, after its recurrence, has attacked her brain, her rib, her lower spine, her liver, and her adrenal gland. You might think that the disease, its side effects, the procedures, that those are the most daunting realities. And indeed those have presented mountainous challenges: countless brain surgeries, endless chemo cocktails, body scans, hospital stays, daily physical violations. Yet she has never entertained any idea of relenting.
People can become numb to the heartache of cancer. It’s everywhere and everyone knows someone affected. Most people think of the battle against cancer simply in terms of the medical fight. But I assure you, the physical impact is almost a non-consideration for my sister. She is a single parent, has been almost since her daughter’s birth. Her husband abandoned his family early on and then died suddenly, leaving no means of support except for death benefits to Shelli's daughter, which ended last month after her high-school graduation. Every time my sister’s oncologists delivers bad news and informs her of the implications of further treatment, he asks: “Do you want to do this?” Well that’s a non-starter of a question. She wants to live. Her daughter, now eighteen, was only eight when she was first diagnosed. Her whole childhood happened after my sister’s first diagnosis. We just celebrated her graduation from high school. And my sister, through her iron will, was there to witness it.
No, this is not a plea for treatment costs, or for medicine, or any of the other traditional things people associate with sickness. She needs help with things that are much more basic, but affect her life in a much more immediate way, such as house expenses, repairs, and the costs of upkeep. Recently a plumbing problem shut down her water for weeks. The absence of water coincided with a period of medical emergency that required ready access to the toilet, which was non-functional. Many of her major appliances, like her oven, are also non-functional. She is not ambulatory and often unable to arrange the many contractors necessary for basic house repairs. Even if she could, she cannot afford to pay for them. Water in her basement has caused mold --- a problem that is dangerous for anyone, but for a person with a gravely compromised immune system, it could be deadly. Her lawn is overgrown and hazardous. Her roof needs to be replaced. Last winter her heat gave out.
It seems almost absurd to say, but I wish my sister’s sole focus was her disease. Because of her indominable spirit, that has always been the easy part. She needs money to fix and keep her home so she can soldier on in peace and with dignity. The repairs and necessary expenses will exceed $10,000, but truly anything will make a difference. We would be so grateful for your help, even if it's just to share her story.
DonationsSee top donations
- Lynnette Myland
- Daniel Martinez
- Claire Waxman
- Pat & Angel Martinez
- Katherine Hartman
Fundraising team: Team Shelli (3)
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