Saving Erica!

My name is Erica Fitz Mears.

Let me tell you about myself. I’m a woman who has had a good life. I had a fine husband, a wonderful daughter, and the best friends a person could ever want. Mine has been a creative life. I’ve been a journalist, a published poet, and an actress.

My biggest “claims to fame” were that I was in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first movie in the U.S. called Hercules in New York (we did not win an Oscar), a TV series entitled Dark Shadows, and a small part in a Broadway show entitled There’s a Girl in My Soup.

My life turned upside down in 2014 when I learned I had mouth cancer.
After coping with my husband Bill’s cancer for many years, I never thought I’d have to battle the same disease. My cancer stems from an autoimmune condition. It can never be cured.

I am fortunate to still be well enough to live on my own, to care for my little dog Foxy, and to be communicating with all of you. The road has not been easy though.

Mine is a rare cancer that creates painful outbreaks in my mouth. All that can be done is to treat the cancer as it appears. Constant supervision and quick action are necessary to prevent it from spreading.

I found a team of excellent doctors at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and they went to work. During many surgeries, my entire mouth was reconstructed using skin grafts, moving bones, and literally making new gums. I lost all my teeth.

Suddenly I was quite a different person. I couldn’t chew and could only drink liquids and eat soft food. I looked many years older and sort of like a witch with a protruding chin.

At first I wanted to hide, but along with my toothless mouth, I realized that all I really want is to be whole, healthy, and to continue the creativity that feeds my soul.

Here’s the problem:

I must raise $30,000 to pay for ongoing treatments. Prosthetic dentures are being made so I can eat regular food and smile again. For my remaining years, I’ll need care and surgeries to manage my illness. Much of the cost is not covered by Medicare, and my cancer expenses to date have used up my savings. It is terrifying for me to look ahead at future costs for my care.

Three friends offered contributions to help me pay for continued treatment. They also suggested that I use Go Fund Me to ask for help. I would be incredibly grateful for any amount, no matter how large or small, that you might be able to share to help me climb this medical mountain. Humbly and gratefully, I am asking for your assistance.

I am deeply grateful for your friendship and support.

Our wedding photo.
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Merlin Mears 
West Chester, PA
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