Profiles in Courage – April 2018

Two April Lemonade Fund applicants stand out as examples of family crises that can torpedo a breast cancer patient’s recovery unless they get financial assistance.
A. is a 49 year old immigrant from South America with two teenagers with special needs. She was recently divorced from a man who was physically abusive enough to force A. and her children to seek shelter in a home for victims of domestic violence. A. had a good job in city government until 2009 when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. After treatment she was unable to return to her job due to the lasting impact of her treatments as well as issues with her husband and her children (one of whom had emotional problems severe enough to require extensive hospitalizations.) Despite this, A. worked part time in eldercare in an effort to support her children. A few months ago her breast cancer returned, this time in a more advanced stage, and A. is undergoing chemotherapy treatments that make working impossible. She is carrying heavy debt that she incurred during the period when she couldn’t work and she is finding it very difficult to manage. A.’s social worker submitted an application on A.’s behalf to the Lemonade Fund and she was awarded a Lemonade Fund financial relief grant so she can focus on recovery and her children.
V. is a married immigrant from Kazakhstan who worked as an office cleaner for many years. Her husband is a factory worker and they have two children. Their oldest son is a long time drug addict who lives with them and who has been in treatment multiple times. His addiction was severe enough to require a liver transplant. V. and her husband tried to support their son but over the years this support has almost bankrupted them and they are deeply in debt. V. continued to work, despite being in her mid-sixties, until she was diagnosed with breast cancer, requiring chemotherapy, a full mastectomy and radiation. V. is now unable to work and the family is in financial crisis. The Lemonade Fund approved them for a grant to help them get through this difficult time.
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