Pulling for My Parents

My name is Jenny and I am a grad student. I am asking you to please help my parents.  My father is now living with me and my mother lives in Blackburg, VA. She works for Virginia Tech (Go Hokies)! Here's what happened:

My father suffered a heart attack 11 years ago and is currently hospitalized for another one- he will need quintuple bypass surgery (that means 5!). He was supposed to be in Virginia this summer, taking care of my mother. She was recently diagnosed with 2 types of breast cancer- one of them being invasive, and just had surgery to remove a golf-ball sized tumour.

She was supposed to follow-up with her oncologist a week ago...but she never made it to her follow-up appointment.

My father suffered from extreme chest pain, cold-sweats and shortness of breath. He tried really hard to make it to drive my mom to her appointment- but he couldn't bear the chest pains any longer (he had been doing so for a week). My parents are divorced and because he does not have U.S. health insurance, he was unwilling to go to the ER, knowing that we would not be able to afford the treatment to save him.

So, she flew him back to Montreal... a risky move for both of them. 

My father had 16 chewable aspirins within the course of 12 hours and called an ambulance from the air once he was 25 minutes out from the airport. Perhaps this was an unethical idea for me to give my parents but it was the only option I felt they would take.  Because neither of my parents are native English speakers, I have tried my best to translate, but I'm not perfectly bilingual when it comes to medical terminology. My mother refuses to leave Montreal until she knows that dad will be ok... but time is of the essence for her as well. 

Her invasive cancer was not accurately diagnosed until it was found beneath the tumour during surgery.  I have been at every one of my mom's appointments via phone and have helped express her concerns to her doctors and vice versa....but translators can only do so much. I know how my parents need repetition to understand and they don't always catch what people are saying anyway. Realistically, there is no translator or doctor willing to sit down with them and repeat what they said multiple times.

As I write this, I am watching my mom clutching her left chest in pain... My parents are 68 and 64 respectively. My mother works contract-based research jobs and my father is now retired. Her course of treatment will be radiation, anit-estrogen drugs, and surgery... 

I already work and I am trying my best to help my parents. I take care of my father while trying to balance my own academics and I can't contribute anymore than I already have. I am exhausted- emotionally and physically. There is a very real chance my parents will die painful deaths in the next 5 - 10 years. Even if my dad's surgery goes as planned, there are 3 small arteries that cannot be fixed and when they clog, he will have another heart attack.  They might not kill him, but no one knows... I wish I could say this is lifestyle and diet related.. my paternal grandfather died of a hear attack at 47... There is no such thing as a bad diet and sendentary lifestyle in rural China... just sayin. <-- comedic sidenote. 

My mother has taken time off work and she is running out of vacation time and paid-sick leave.   Her insurance does cover some of her treatment but not all of it.  She lives alone in Blacksburg, Virginia and I live in a 1 bedroom apartment with my dad- we turned the living room in to a bed room. We already live a frugally as possible - we do not eat out ever (last time we ate out as a family was when I was 12), but because of the expenses needed for healthcare, transportation, rent and day to day living expenses, I would like to help my parents ease their burden by helping them pay for these things- they would never ask for money from me or anyone else. That's just culture but I will be defiant for their benefit.

We don't have a lot of savings as a family... my mother is worried because she probably wont be able to work with her treatment- she has been working weekends, holidays hoping to save time for emergencies such as these.

My father hasn't worked since he had his last heart attack and he will need someone to look after him while he recovers (that would be me), but I can't be in both places at the same time... My twin brother is also in grad school in New York. He will go help take care of my mom with her daily living needs, but we still need financial support.
I am hoping to raise enough so I know for sure, that there is no chance of homelessness. Any donation is appreciated. 


A very stressed out girl


P.S. My parents don't know I'm doing this and for anyone who does know them, I would appreciate it if you wouldn't tell them. The plan is to make anonymous donations!


 See top
  • Jennifer Friel 
    • $50 
    • 44 mos
  • Eleni Lamprouskou  
    • $50 
    • 44 mos
  • Shanti Oppenheimer 
    • $10 
    • 44 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $65 
    • 44 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 44 mos
See all


Jenny Jay 
Blacksburg, VA
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more