I am starting this GoFundMe to help out my little sister Monika who has been battling Stage 3 triple-negative breast cancer at the young age of 27. Insurance companies have neglected any coverage, cutting off her short term disability and outright denying her long term disability and critical illness payout. She has been forced to go on medical E.I., which only lasts a short period of time, while having to be off work for almost a year. Once all her treatment is done, she was recommended to join a healthcare program that will watch her closely to ensure cancer does not return, but it is very cost-prohibitive, especially in her position.
We are asking our friends, family and any other helpful souls who would like to support my sister and help raise some funds so that we can pay for her medical expenses while she recovers. For those who haven’t met Monika, she is the most selfless person I know. She has volunteered for so many good causes and will help anyone in need, putting their well-being before hers.
But now she needs our help, and I want to make sure she gets all the help she can to fully beat cancer!
Monika found a small lump in her right breast just before Christmas in December of 2018. After seeing her family doctor in early January, she was referred for an ultrasound. When the results came back confirming the presence of a mass, her doctor did not seem overly concerned due to her young age and otherwise good health. Monika insisted on further investigation and was referred for a biopsy. As the weeks passed, she felt the mass grow while counting down the days to the procedure. Two and a half months later, on the day of the biopsy, Monika learned that it had doubled in size. A few samples of the mass and the nearby lymph nodes were taken in for analysis. After the biopsy, the tumour started to increase in size rapidly. The results came back about a week later and changed Monika’s life forever - she found out that she has an aggressive type of cancer: a triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Our family was devastated. We learned that the treatment options are limited and usually a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are required. TNBC is considered to be more aggressive and has a poorer prognosis than other types of breast cancer.
Everything progressed so quickly after her diagnosis, from trying to overcome the shock, to having to deal with countless appointments. Day after the diagnosis, we learned that the tumor was too large and immediate surgery was not an option. Monika was told that she will have to start chemotherapy as soon as possible. Thanks to the wonderful staff at the Lions Gate Hospital Oncology Department, we were able to set up the treatment plan immediately. The Oncologist recommended getting the PET scan privately to speed up the process. He was very concerned about how rapidly the tumor had grown - at this point, it took over the majority of her right breast. He managed to get Monika a PET scan booked on the next business day, as they needed to have that information before they could determine the proper chemo mix. Family and friends helped raise the funds to cover the costs of the scan. The PET scan revealed that since the biopsy, cancer spread to the nearby lymph nodes including the ones in the chest. Monika was now considered a Stage 3 cancer patient. She started chemo on March 21st, 2019, just 10 days after finding out she had cancer.
The extended health insurance declined some of her claims such as Long Term Disability, claiming she had a pre-existing condition. Monika realized that when she changed her job in November 2018 it affected her insurance coverage. Even though she got her diagnosis in early March 2019, the new insurance company focused on the dates of the early symptoms of her cancer (lump in December 2018) and declined coverage. Monika was crushed by the news.
From this point on it was a non-stop battle with the insurance company to get Monika any kind of income, since she was going to be out of work for up to a year. She managed to get short-term disability through her extended healthcare, which helped with some of her medical expenses. However, to her surprise, in July she was cut off without any advance notice.
Monika shared with me that she is finding it difficult to not have any income. Her boyfriend and parents help her with some of the major expenses. Monika mentioned that she is very grateful but feels that she is a financial burden. Donations towards some of her expenses would definitely help her focus on recovery and not rush back to work after her surgery.
Monika has a much higher chance of cancer coming back in the first 5 years. Monika stands the best chance to beat this by being vigilant with health care checkups and screening for early detection. Her oncologist recommended to her to become a patient at the Copeman Healthcare Centre, which specializes in that. Copeman Healthcare offers ongoing primary and comprehensive programs that provide clients with a dedicated team of professionals from different medical disciplines - their goal is to optimize health, maximize disease prevention, facilitate early detection and execute timely interventions.
We are helping Monika to raise funds and allow her to focus on her recovery without worrying about day-to-day finances. Just to give you an idea, here is a breakdown of some of the medical expenses Monika will be facing:
Copeman Healthcare Annual Fees:
First Year $4,650
Following Years $3,650
5 Year Copeman Healthcare Centre Total: $19,250
Emergency Private PET scan $3,400
More about Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: https://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/_Komen/Content/About_Breast_Cancer/Tools_and_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Breast_Self_Awareness_Cards/Triple%20Negative%20Breast%20Cancer.pdf
Any donations are greatly appreciated.