In the midst of medical, financial and mental turmoil, Heather contacted Sherrys Run in April 2012. Kathy Fyke met Heather at her apartment, which Kathy said was very nice, and overflowing with the remnants of Heathers former life. Heather wore a head scarf to cover her scalp since chemo had resulted in hair loss, was struggling with the physical pain of chemotherapy and the emotional pain of losing her lifestyle.
She was devastated at the thought of going backward and having to move in with her daughter, Kathy said of this role reversal in Heathers life. Not only was this health care professional fighting for her life, she was fighting for her independence as well.
Her son Nick, in school and also working two jobs, would come stay with her to cook, clean and take care of her every three or four days. It wound up being too much for a woman battling cancer to handle: Heather made the decision to move, temporarily with her oldest daughter when her apartment lease ended this summer, as she was unable to pay her rent or health insurance, and her children began providing financial assistance for their mother.
When you are fighting for your life the last thing you need to be worried about is how youre going to pay for medical bills when the insurance stops, said Heathers daughter, Andrea Ives.
In May, the FMLA provided by her employer ran out, and Heather lost her group health insurance coverage and took on COBRA for the short term. For someone still in active treatment for cancer, however, medical insurance is critical so Heather had to drop Nick from her coverage because of the added price of insuring him as well. This was emotionally difficult for her to do since Nick works two jobs to pay both his and his mothers bills, travelling between Lebanon and Mt. Juliet often to work and care for this mother as often as he can.
A huge shout-out to Sherrys Run for helping us when no one else would, Nick said. When insurance stopped you guys didnt.
Since learning of her plight, Sherrys Run has provided health insurance premium payments, provided help with living expenses and paid for prescriptions that Heathers insurance wouldnt cover. Heather has been very grateful and is working to regain her strength. She has completed her chemotherapy treatments, and is looking forward to returning to her nursing job this fall.
Sherrys Run gave us hope and made it possible to have peace of mind, and took some of the burden off our shoulders, Andrea said. We could never thank you enough. Your generosity will always be remembered.
Nick said he is grateful for what Sherrys Run has done for his mother giving a hand up to a woman who has striven to be independent and work to pay her bills, take care of her family and enjoy each day given to her.
We are truly blessed for your foundation, Nick said. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Sherrys Run is truly making a difference in the lives of those who are battling cancer. The funds raised go to help cancer patients like Heather who have worked hard for a good life but because of cancer are hurting in our community.
The mission of Sherrys Run: Through faith and love create an environment for all those affected by cancer, which provides hope, knowledge, assistance, support and compassion. To learn more about Sherrys Run please call 925-2592 or to refer someone who might qualify for assistance, call 925-9932 or visit www.sherrysrun.org.