Samantha's Journey of Living

Samantha is 38 years old and currently lives on St. Simons Island, GA. After graduation from Georgia State University in 2002 with her Public Policy she worked a few years in Forest Park, GA before moving to St. Simons Island with her daughter, Karley (born in 2005) and Karley’s father. Since she was moving to a hospitality area, there weren’t many jobs for her degree, and if there were, they didn’t pay well.

Towards the beginning of 2012, she began experiencing excruciating headaches and extreme fatigue. After many months of living like this, and not even a month after her 33rd birthday, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer and tested positive for the EGFR mutation that caused it. The headaches had ironically saved her life. While visiting family in Atlanta after enduring many misdiagnoses where she currently lives, it was discovered at a hospital visit that she had a brain tumor. The brain tumor was malignant and led to her diagnosis. This occurred during Thanksgiving break and Lung Cancer Awareness month.

She immediately had a craniotomy and had gamma knife to the cavity where the brain tumor was successfully removed. As a single mother, with a 7-year-old daughter, Samantha was terrified and felt hopeless.

Soon she got online and began to meet people. She has since been the spokesperson for and participated in several Free to Breathe 5K’s, currently a LUNGevity mentor for newly diagnosed young cancer patients with children. She is also an active member of the Bonnie J. Addario Foundation, Team Draft, and Lung Force.

She had radiation to a tumor that started progressing in 2013. The radiation stopped the spread and she has since been on a targeted therapy ever since

Having lived beyond the amount of time expected (12-18 months) placed quite a burden on Samantha and her family financially.  This past December, she was forced to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy protection because she could no longer afford all the expenses that came with the disease.

On January 15th, 16 days after filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy protection AND on her daughter’s 13th birthday, she felt a sudden pain in her right lung.  With her daughter’s encouragement, she went to the hospital where she was admitted due to two pulmonary embolisms.  She remained in the hospital for 5 days to ensure the embolisms didn’t break off and travel to her brain or heart.  She is now on blood thinners along with her targeted therapy for life.

There is no cure for Stage 4 Lung Cancer.  The 5-year survival rate is merely 4%, yet Samantha, through the grace of God, has been able to defy those odds and has now begun her 6th year on this journey.  But living beyond her expected time has come with a cost.  Not only are the new hospital bills beginning to roll in, she has new medications to deal with.  Being a survivor is both mentally and physically challenging. 

Now Samantha needs our help.  She has no credit and her net income each month after paying all bills is $28.  She used to have credit cards that she survived on but could no longer continue to pay them.  She has her car and her rental home, but her health suffered a major blow in January and we are not sure where that is going to lead at this point.  We do know she cannot afford her deductibles and copays along with any other unexpected expense.  Being a single mother with cancer limits Samantha so much.  She must rest so she can feel good when her daughter is around, making it impossible for Samantha to work.  Any amount can help Samantha and her daughter to continue their lives as normally as possible.


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Jenifer Anderson 
Atlanta, GA
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