December 8th 2008 I went on my lunch break to the breast specialist to get what I was assured a clean bill of health from a biopsy I had performed the week before of a small lump I had found in my right breast. I will never forget the denial /unacceptance I heard in my voice after the surgeon told me I had triple negative Breast Cancer and needed to act fast because it had a way of hitting fast and hard in younger black women such as myself. I can still hear my voice telling the doctor that I couldn�t have breast cancer because I was taking care of my son and waiting for him to get a liver transplant to save his life, check the name again because I don�t have time for this. As I started crying she was talking about “stat MRI�s” and surgery dates for the following week as I am trying to explain I could not take off anymore time because I had used it all up to care for my son who lives in and out of the hospital. How was I going to afford being sick with all the co-pays and going in and out of the hospital? How was I going to afford being sick with co-pays for my son�s medication and hospital stays, credit cards already maxed and savings a distant memory�living paycheck to paycheck was not even a luxury I had at the moment. It was more a “rob Peter to pay Paul” existence. Cancer does not play fair, it hits you when you least need the burden and that time is anytime, when would it be convenient and tidy to get this dreaded disease. So that is the start of my journey; surgery scheduled in a week and I’m trying to get my oldest son home from the Navy to see about the younger ones as I went through surgery and recuperation.
I learned about your organization from a flyer in the oncologist office where I was receiving my chemo treatments. December I made a copy of the flyer and filled out the application for an Individual Grant. The manager of the department was very helpful in getting me set up and understanding the services that you were able to assist with, upon approval I was assisted with 6 months of rental assistance and food/gas reimbursement and payments of overdue utility bills. At the time your organization approved my grant I was facing eviction and possible interruption of services for both electric and water.
My experience with your organization has been a blessing in so many ways. I was able to let go of the worry and stress of how my bills would be paid and concentrate on getting through treatment and healing quickly so I could return to work in the shortest amount of time. I was under so much stress between diagnosis and dealing with a terminally ill child already that the side effects of the chemo were tri-fold for me. Without the assistance you provided I don�t know how things would have panned out. Once the United Breast Cancer Foundation became involved things, seemed to start falling into place in a positive manner.
I think your organization provides a much needed service to people in a dire situation that no one chooses to be in. I know some people are able to handle medical situations/family illnesses without assistance but some people, like myself, who work hard but cannot save for that rainy day because it has been storming for so long, need a little hand when the road gets rough. I have said it before and will repeat myself, UBCF is a blessing to people like me. I have a decent job, being a hospice nurse, good health insurance but none that counts if you get sick and cannot work. I would like to thank UBCF for the assistance that has been a lifeline to me and my family in this difficult time.