Richell’s Fight

For people that already know my mom, know everything I’m already about to say. But for those of you that don’t, here’s a little bit about her. 

My mom has worked hard all of her life. Family is the most important thing to her, and will do absolutely anything to help anyone that’s in need. She’s the person that very rarely ever gets to go on vacation because she’s busy helping out her family and anyone else that currently needs help; even though she deserves an island of her own. People describe my mom as loving, always smiling, caring, and hard working. And she is all of that and more. But the one thing I always knew she was, and what she taught me to be, is strong.

About 3.5 years ago, my mom was diagnosed with Bells Palsy. So we thought. Doctors said there wasn’t much they could do for her facial nerve damage, other than go through a constructive surgery. So she did that, and that surgery was so long and took her a long time to heal. But she got through it. Since the surgery she continued to have nerve pain, which the doctors said they’ve never really had anyone complain of that. So not knowing what to expect for the future, life went on, and my mom continued to live her life the way she did before all of this, even through all of her pain.

Fast forward to this past February, she started complaining of awful ear pain. She went to her doctors office and it looked infected so they assumed it was an ear infection and gave her antibiotics. When she went back in for a follow up, they noticed the antibiotics did absolutely nothing. Stumped, they ordered at CT just to make sure nothing else was going on. We truly just thought the infection might have spread, causing it to not really go away. No one was prepared for the news we got. 

It wasn’t an ear infection. It had nothing to do with her Bell’s palsy. They found a tumor. A very large tumor in her head that was blocking her ear canal, and against her brain. We were in shock, and maybe cried for a day, but naturally, we were optimistic. She was sent to an ENT for further treatment, and when he went over her medical history, he truly believes she never had Bells Palsy to begin with, and that this tumor has been growing for years. He told us he needed to do a biopsy to make sure it wasn’t cancerous. Cancer. The word that makes anyone sick to their stomachs just hearing it. Cancer was always something my mom feared of. I mean everyone does, right? It’s that thing that you never think it’ll happen to you. We started worrying but naturally, my mom was still optimistic and stayed positive and strong. 

We started believing that this in no way could be cancerous. But we were wrong. It was cancerous, and it’s a very rare cancer. Adenoid cystic carcinoma, is the name of it. When my mom told me on the phone, she told me she just needs one day to be sad, and then she’ll be strong again. And she did just that. She called me the next morning and was positive, and strong. Instead of living in fear, she researched all night and came up with a plan, because she was ready to fight. And she has been doing just that, ever since. In August, she had a 14 hour surgery to remove her tumor. Not knowing how she was going to wake up, with or without a trach, or with or without a feeding tube, she woke up without any of that. There is pieces of the tumor they were not able to remove since it was attached to her nerves, so she now has to go to Philadelphia away from her family for radiation, and she starts that in November and it lasts 7 weeks.

She has been off of work for months, and needing money she even tried going back to work after her surgery. Between her normal bills, her added on medical bills, and now an apartment she has to rent for 2 months, you can imagine the stress she’s feeling. But money should be the last thing she’s worrying about, when she’s been fighting for her life. Both her and my dad have given to everyone, and put everyone else before themselves, all of their lives.

My parents never would have made this. They wanted to keep taking out of their retirement instead of asking for help. So naturally, I took it into my own hands, because the absolute last thing they deserve, is to be worried about not paying their bills. It’s long overdue, but I think its finally time for us to help you. So take a deep breath momma, we got it from here.



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Organizer and beneficiary

Arissa Stevens 
Williamsport, PA
Richell LeBlanc 

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