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Georgia

"By the time I looked for help
I was going through my piggy bank, and looking for pennies on the floor."

On Saint Patrick’s 2004 most folks were wearing green and celebrating. But for Georgia the holiday was marked with dread. The 56-year old Berea woman discovered a lump in her breast. She wanted to make an appointment to see a doctor immediately, but Georgia’s part-time restaurant job did not offer health insurance. So she waited as eventually her tumor grew to 8 centimeters. “I couldn’t afford to get help for it,” she said.

On Thanksgiving of 2005 families were cooking turkeys and planning get-togethers, but Georgia remembers the holiday as the day found out she had breast cancer. Despite being unable to pay for a doctor visit her cousin convinced her to seek help.

A mammogram, a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation followed. Georgia’s only source of income had been her modest restaurant job. Now too sick to work and racking up thousands of dollars in medical bills, this woman who was once proud to support herself was forced to apply to Social Security Disability. “The $620.00 I get from Social Security Disability is not enough to pay my bills. It leaves me short every month,” said Georgia. “Finding out you’re going be financially wiped out is worse than the diagnosis.".Meanwhile, Georgia’s doctors told her the cancer had spread and that she would be in therapy for the rest of her life.

She knows she will live longer by maintaining a positive attitude, but she is challenged. With her bank account long ago exhausted and her rent bill overdue, Georgia was sick and faced with homelessness. "By the time I looked for help I was going through my piggy bank, and looking for pennies on the floor." Today she struggles to buy paper products and cover basic living expenses.

In her weakened condition Georgia spends a lot of time lying down. Her bed is worn out and she doesn’t know how, or if she will be able to replace her sagging mattress and box springs. Fortunately Georgia was able to receive temporary emergency assistance from funds from a grantee of the Breast Cancer Fund of Ohio, which paid Georgia’s rent when she was in danger of losing her apartment.

 

 


Yvette

Funds from Breast Cancer Fund of Ohio paid for her groceries, gasoline to get to the doctor, and helped her pay her mortgage

Yvette is a 46-year old former Child Care Attendant in the Columbus area. She is also single parent, raising a young teen-age son. Last spring she discovered a lump in her breast. Yvette can not afford health insurance so her only choice was to go to a hospital emergency room. As she braced herself for the worst, the struggling mother was sick with worry over the upcoming medical bills, and filled with anxiety over who would care for her 14 year-old child if something happened to her.

The results of her biopsy were positive, it was breast cancer. Surgery and chemotherapy came next. Yvette is now undergoing radiation treatments that make her feel sick and beat up. “I’m taking it one day at a time, she said. The cancer treatments have made it impossible to make a living. “I wasn’t able to work, my body had a lot of trauma, and I was just too weak and tired to hold a job.”

Out of money and out of a work, Yvette is facing at least 35 radiation treatments and has medical bills that already total over $70 thousand dollars. “What’s next, I don’t know, I’m depressed because of my loss of hair, and loss of income,” said Yvette, who hopes to eventually get back to work.

Fortunately, Yvette was able to get help from Columbus Cancer Clinic (CCC). Through a grant from the sale of Ohio’s Breast Cancer License Plate and the Breast Cancer Fund of Ohio, they provided emergency financial assistance. CCC paid for groceries, gasoline to get to the doctor, and helped her pay her mortgage. “I just can’t imagine what I would have done, I think about it all the time, if it wasn’t for CCC I would have been homeless and without food. I needed the additional help and they have really helped me a lot,” said Yvette.

Yvette is one of many breast cancer survivors that are face with not only the disease but the financial burden. If you can imagine working and going for a doctor’s appointment and find out you have breast cancer and now you need to stop working due to the rigorous treatments that are needed. How will support your family and still be able to go for the needed treatment? “This is a common story I hear from many of our clients. We need to support these ladies as much as possible while they are battling the disease!” states Cathy Phillips RN, OCN, Director of Columbus Cancer Clinic.

The Breast Cancer Fund of Ohio provided Columbus Cancer Clinic with a grant which helps the Clinic to provide transportation to and from cancer related medical appointments, medications, emergency financial assistance and groceries.

 


Heidi

Ohio drivers helped her keep her home when she was without income

Heidi faithfully had a mammogram every year. The 55-year Cincinnati woman knew that if she developed breast cancer, the best chance for recovery was early detection. But between her annual examinations, she discovered a lump in her left breast last October. “Since it was Breast Cancer Awareness Month I remembered to do a self examination,” said Heidi. “I didn’t feel well; I had an ultra sound, a week later a biopsy. I was short of breath and found out I had pneumonia, fluid in my lungs, and the biopsy was positive for cancer which had metastasized.”

Heidi worked at a hospital and had medical insurance. She is a strong woman who was convinced she could work while in treatment. She forced herself to report to work each day determined not to give up the job she loved. However, the side effects from treatment eventually forced her to stop working and surrender her insurance coverage. “I realized I couldn’t work; I’m a fighter but had to humble myself and leave my job,” said Heidi.” Another side effect of chemotherapy was the loss of appetite and the bland taste of food. “It almost made me cry, everything I ate tasted like cardboard. My daughter had to coach me into chewing and eating my food, which I had to force down,” she said.

In the spring the police visited Heidi to tell her husband had been murdered, just days later her father died from lung cancer. Meanwhile, with no income she fell behind on her bills, was short on food, and couldn’t pay her rent. Heidi received emergency assistance through Cancer Family Care in Cincinnati. “Cancer Family Care allowed me to keep my home when I was without income,” said Heidi.

Through her ordeal Heidi has managed to remain positive. She credits her faith in god. “The C in cancer in my life stands for Christ, all cancer is not death,” she says, keeping her cancer at bay through ongoing treatment.

Cancer Family Care in Cincinnati provides temporary emergency assistance for people like Heidi. Cancer Family Care receives funding from the Breast Cancer Fund of Ohio (Breast Cancer Fund of Ohio).

Help hundreds of women like Georgia, Yvette and Heidi ... purchase a breast cancer awareness license plate

 


© 2008-2014. Breast Cancer Fund of Ohio. All rights reserved.

PO Box 31238, Independence, OH 44138

Patient Navigation, Community Outreach, & Grants Administration:
Deb Ferenc, General Administrator | 216-287-0355 |
Fax 216-901-1601 | deb@BCFOhio.org