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Financial Support When Breast Cancer Takes Its Toll

August 11, 2017 | VNA Staff | Story

Kari was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 when she was 34-years-old. Single at the time, Kari laughs as she describes her mindset back then as an “I’m gonna kick this” kind of spirit. When the cancer returned, tears rise and her voice quivers when she thinks of all she has to lose.

Kari knows she has a tougher fight this time, not only because she is in Stage 3, but because she can’t bear the thought of her three-year-old daughter Aurora growing up without her mother. Kari’s dreams for Aurora keep her going even when she doesn’t feel well and starts to worry about whether she can make it through.

“I’m proud of her,” she says. “I tell her ‘don’t be scared of life, be aware of life.’ I want her to have good health. I want her to be strong. To be brave. To be confident. I want her to be friendly and kind.”

Although it’s difficult, Kari works to keep her focus on the positive. The same day she received her diagnosis, she returned to her job of eight years ­—­­ only to be let go from her position. Later, when applying for unemployment benefits, she discovered she had been flagged for “possible health reasons,” which she learned could delay her ability to receive benefits.

Realizing she would no longer be able to provide for herself and her daughter on top of managing treatment, Kari immediately moved in with her mom, pooling all her available resources to pay off the bills.

While the move helped to alleviate monthly expenses, Kari still scrambled to pay for food, meet the needs of her growing daughter, and cover the cost of gas to drive to treatment and search for work opportunities.

A nurse suggested Kari reach out to VNA’s Breast Cancer Patient Assistance Program (BCPAP).

“Everything happens for a reason,” Kari says. “I’ve held on to the $300 Walmart gift card [VNA] provided me like it’s a golden egg. At this point, I’ve spent $80. It’s teaching me to be incredibly frugal.”

In total, Kari faces five rounds of chemotherapy until she undergoes a bilateral mastectomy and hysterectomy in the fall.

Thanks to BCPAP, as well as the overwhelming support from her family, friends and significant other, Kari is now able to focus on her treatment and recovery, and being a strong, positive role model for Aurora.


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