When I was diagnosed with my DCIS, I was underinsured. In fact, I had no insurance. I had purchased medical insurance for years; however, when the expense became too great (more than half of what I made a month) I needed to make a decision. We were all healthy and only sought out the doctors for our annual exams. Discontinuing health insurance until we could afford it seemed reasonable. Unfortunately, that was one of the biggest mistakes I made.
The reality of being tens of thousands of dollars in debt was disheartening. Luckily, there were a couple of angels in our circle of friends. My cousin felt compelled to do something different since she was hours away. She would have made a point to be by my side if the distance was not a factor. She started an online fundraiser to seek donations for past, current, and future medical expenses as her way to help out. This allowed an opportunity for friends and family near and far to show their support and help however they were able. I noticed many people sharing the donation page with others, allowing strangers with a generous heart to donate as well. The goal may have never been reached, but any amount was appreciated.
My husband received a call from another friend the day after I had my double mastectomy surgery. She had asked if she could put on a fundraiser involving a couple of local businesses with the funds going directly to us. It’s hard to say no to a proposition like that. Even though I wanted to say no, deep down believing there were a number of people more deserving than myself, I accepted. The way she worded it, “You have given people so much since I’ve known you, and have been heavily involved in fundraising for cancer, it’s time that we give back to you,” made saying no extremely difficult and brought tears to my eyes. My name, picture, and story were put on the radio, in the newspaper, and on the internet for all to see and support. Family, friends, and strangers came to enjoy a delicious meal, bid on some amazing silent auction items, and say hello to me one cold October afternoon.
I was impressed by the support shown in the communities both near and far. Many people who did not even know the person they were supporting felt compelled enough to give a financial contribution. A donation that provided us a moment of relief when a medical bill came in the mail. A donation that helped ease the pain of being out of work for months. Even to this day, I am grateful for the generosity of others.
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