My mother, Mary Rinaldi, is transferring home for hospice care after Laryngeal Cancer spread through her body. We ask for your help to meet needs not covered by insurance.
Expenses fall into two categories:
1. Medical treatment not covered by insurance.
2. Lost wages, travel expenses, and resources required to provide hands on care for Mary.
Early November, 2016, Mom was diagnosed with Laryngeal Cancer at Kaweah Delta Hospital in Visalia, CA. She was eventually admitted and an emergency tracheostomy was performed. On Thanksgiving Day she was transferred to Keck Hospital of USC in Los Angeles for surgery. After several delays, shortly before Christmas, surgeons performed a partial laryngectomy.
New Year's Eve, she was transferred to Western Convalescent Hospital. After a brief readmission to Keck, she transferred to Country Villa Rehabilitation Center (also known as L.A. Rehab). Our expectation was for Mom to come home cancer-free and relatively healthy.
April 27, we learned that while the cancer had been surgically removed from her larynx, it had reached her lymphnode undetected. Three aggressive tumors are growing in her neck and the cancer also spread to her liver and lung. My mom was deemed too fragile for chemotherapy or radiation. The joint decision of the chief surgeon, the oncologist, Mom and myself was home hospice care.
Many expenses aren't covered by insurance. In Los Angeles, non-emergency medical transportation (for trips such as oncology tests and for the cardiologist to fix her pacemaker) costs range from $170 to $500 per round trip. A Respiratory Therapist (R.T.), often required for transport even for a quick trip, is an additional $2,000.
Because organizing appointments, records, and care between multiple facilities is unwieldy, both of Mom's nursing facilities and some of the hospitals asked me to manage this for them from 200 miles away. Probably unconventional, but we did it. My girlfriend, Lisa Kim, has been a godsend. She lives much closer to my Mom's nursing facility but still, she put thousands of miles on her aging car and spent hundreds of hours that she could've been working to meet needs hands-on. As for me, besides having to travel to Los Angeles for meetings with doctors and staff and visiting my mom, it's not uncommon that I'm on the phone up to 12 hours per day dealing with insurance and helping manage things as requested.
As if the emotional ordeal isn't tiring enough, the time and work we committed is exhausting.
Remarkably, my mom remains optimistic through all of this. Her positive attitude encourages us.
We've been shrewd to minimize costs and had a lot of help. I often avoided hotel stays because friends (Charles & Shirley Castles, Frank Gallegos, Derek & Lara Samms) opened their homes to me. Dennis Culver & St. Mary's Catholic Church assisted with some of Mom's medical transportation, for which we were blessed with special low rates around $100. In some cases, but not all, we've been able to get an R.T. donated for those transports.
Mary requires 24 hour care. Once discharged home, we need to pay at least one full time care provider out of pocket who'll work the hours not covered by hospice nurses and my mom's primary provider, Yolanda, who's employed through In Home Supportive Services. Yolanda treats us like family and has made many sacrifices of her time and resources outside of her job. She thinks of my mom as her big sister.
Also... we aren't giving up! We're trying natural supplements and vitamins that many testimonies claim have slowed or reversed cancer growth, hoping-- without any expectations-- that we can help Mom's body heal itself. But we are planning sensibly.
In determining the total amount we need, I did factor in the GoFundMe campaign cost-- a few people asked to make sure we accounted properly. Donations of any size are blessings. We greatly appreciate your help to provide for these needs that aren't covered by insurance. And we are forever thankful to our friends who've all ready helped. Your love and support give us strenth to persist.
Though we will run this campaign for 60 days, we hope to meet most of our goal in the next 7 days because we hope to use funds to bring Mom home next week.
Whether you donate or not, please share this page with your friends and churches and please join us in prayer.
1. Please pray.
2. Please donate what you can.
3. Please share this page with others.
We thank you,
Mary Rinaldi, Michael Rinaldi & Lisa Kim, Yolanda Rodriguez.
Pictured on front page: Mary Rinaldi with a visitor, Roxie the therapy dog.
Pictured on top: Michael Rinaldi with Mary Rinaldi.
Pictured above: Lisa Kim with Mary Rinaldi.
- Jeffrey Stackhouse
- Jeffrey Stackhouse
- Tim Olshefski
- Margo Allsbrook
Organizer and beneficiary
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