Widowed at the hands of blood cancer at the age of forty-four, my mom has always struggled to make ends meet. She retired from PennDot early to spend time with me only to realize she couldn't sustain the lack of income. She then took up a back-breaking part-time job at Giant Foods in our hometown. Over time the money dwindled and our house grew to a state of disrepair. Now we find ourselves living in a home falling apart without any hope of fixing it.
Fast forward to this year. I graduated from college with debt last year and entered into a year of service coupled with a master's program in teaching. When Mom got diagnosed, I immediately moved home to take care of her. While I have a job teaching at a preschool, it does not pay nearly enough to cover the cost of her illness. When she got diagnosed, she had to quit her job at Giant and so her ability to pay her debts and incoming medical expenses also ended.
Over the last eleven months my mother has fought cancer valiantly. Her cancer began in her breast but spread to her lungs, liver, thyroid, ribs, and spine. The doctors gave her six months to two years to live. She vowed to fight "like hell" and she has, bringing the breast cancer levels in her blood down from over 400 points to 21. She went from having chemotherapy once a week to going on a daily hormone therapy. I could not be prouder of her battle, but the war is not nearly over.
Now, we are unable to pay the taxes on our house, can barely pay the mortgage or afford groceries. Mom was told she has to declare bankruptsy and lose everything. We are praying for a solution to our problem, and are hoping for basic human generosity. In order to make ends meet and give my mom a new start, I need to take care of her obligations. Today she told me that all of her money problems are making her want to give up. She is questioning the value of her life when she is unable, from pain and monetary circumstances, to really live. The stress from her situation is exacerbating her pain ten-fold. I recognize that money is not the full solution, but fixing some of her problems would allow her to feel at ease and have more of a hope for remission.
Thank you for reading our story. Whether you donate $5 or just a prayer, your love for strangers gives me hope for the future.
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