Inspirational cancer stories – United Cancer of Elkhart County
Debra King was diagnosed with breast cancer from a regular mammogram. Fortunately, it was found very early and she will not need chemotherapy. After a lumpectomy surgery, she will receive a few rounds of follow-up radiation treatments and take a hormone inhibitor for five years.
Debra was hired at Dexter Axle in 1984, but lost her job during the economic downturn of 2009. She used that time to earn an Administrative Medical degree and landed a job in 2012. Recently her company was acquired by Dexter Axle, so she’s working for her old company again. Debra loves to work out and crochet, but the exercising will probably be on hold for the next few months. Debra fortunately has vacation time and a disability income package from her company.
However, she has a $5,000 per year deductible. So, with follow-up treatment, she faces potentially $25,000 in health care costs over the next five years. Your donations will help Debra on her journey back to good health.
Zach Shook, pictured here with his mom Timi in January 2017, is 19 years old when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Doctors found the tumors when Zach couldn’t move his neck after an illness and and ER doctor ordered a CT scan.
After two brain surgeries, Zach will begin six rounds of chemotherapy and five rounds of radiation. Zach is covered under his family’s insurance, but his insurance deductible is $5,000 per year. An independent young man, Zach’s biggest disappointment is having to move back home with his parents. The Shook family knew about United Cancer, because they have attended our Leprechaun Leap fundraiser.
Angie Roll’s family has had a long history with cancer, so she began regular mammograms at age 20 years ago. At the end of 2016, her regular mammogram detected what would be diagnosed as breast cancer. Surgery found two other spots, so the surgeon opted for a full mastectomy. However, since the tumors were stage I and there was no evidence of spread, Angie will not have to take chemotherapy or radiation.
However, her maximum out-of-pocket cost is $6,700, which she will reach for the next 4 to 5 years due to regular testing after a cancer diagnosis. Angie’s 9 and 13-year-old girls were scared after their moms surgery, but are thankful that she will make a full recovery. Angie’s 9-year-old loves art and her 13-year-old loves gymnastics. Angie says that she is thankful to be able to take part in her daughters’ projects and sports in the coming year. Your donations will reimburse Angie for treatment costs which she will use for regular living expenses to cover the loss of income after her surgery.
Karyn Gingrich and her husband Kermit came to register because of her breast cancer diagnosis. Although she is working, her husband took early retirement. Karyn has private insurance with a $6,400 per year deductible. Her husband was very concerned that they were seeing the best doctor and getting his wife the best treatment.
He is understandably worried about his wife, so we took quite a bit of time talking about what is to come and helping answer his concerns. From that discussion, we created a list of several questions that they should pose to the oncologist. Kermit’s numerous concerns are proof positive that cancer diagnosis effects the whole family. The Gingrichs were very thankful for the planning process, and UC will probably help Karen with treatment costs.
Ann Burkey came to register her one year old, Levi. He has a soft tissue cancer related to a cyst that was in his lung. They’re not calling it lung cancer, the cancer was in the cyst lining. Ann says that Levi is doing well, and is actually a happy little guy. Ann is remarkably well composed, and says that she tends to be the strong one while her husband is more emotional. Ann is remarkably well educated about Levi’s conditions, and is able to handle his care quite well.
The insurance related to her husband’s new job has a $20,000 deductible, so they are purchasing COBRA through his former employer. The premiums are $1400 per month and the deductible is $8000 per year. They can continue to purchase this insurance as long as the former employer does not change products. Ann has been touched by the number of people who seem to care about their family and provide food and support. Levi has some other health issues, but this family seems to be able to deal with his health problems and maintain a positive, nurturing home environment.