During Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we are sharing stories from the many families we’ve served over the past twenty years. Childhood cancer leaves a lasting impact on every family touched by the disease. We honor their many unique journeys through childhood cancer and invite you to stand next to them by joining our monthly giving program.
Paul is a 22 year-old young man from New Jersey who has been fighting cancer since his senior year in high school. Paul was in remission and his body showed no evidence of disease for a short period of time. In late 2015, the family was blindsided by a relapse and once again faces the emotional and financial disruptions of pediatric cancer.
Paul’s cancer returned in a more aggressive form following his relapse, and he is unable to work or attend school during treatment. His medical team recommended a treatment protocol including intensive chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant during this second battle.
Paul’s parents continue to work full time throughout his extended battle against cancer. Although Paul is able to transport himself to many of his appointments, his parents miss work when intense treatments leave Paul too sick to drive himself. The missed work time has caused the family’s household income to drop by over 30% since his relapse. In addition, Paul’s out of pocket medical costs have significantly increased. The soaring cost of co-pays, deductibles, travel and special food have made it near impossible for his parents to afford their monthly bills.
Because he is under 26 years old, Paul is covered under his father’s insurance but coverage is limited. Paul is very careful about following the strict limits of his coverage to avoid incurring large medical bills. He has gone so far as to delay treatment and refuse uncovered diagnostic testing to limit the financial strain on his family.
Paul’s parents work hard to pay for all of the uncovered medical expenses accumulated during Paul’s three-year battle. When the family’s social worker contacted Family Reach seeking support she stated: “Paul has become very concerned about the financial hardship placed on his parents for his treatment. He is a wonderful young man who has suffered so much over the last three years. He is reluctantly requesting financial assistance for his bills so that his parents can pay a hospital bill to avoid it being sent to collection. The financial stress of his disease has really become too much for him to handle at this critical stage of his treatment.”
Family Reach immediately stepped in and paid the annual cost of the family’s auto insurance. This payment ensured that Paul had the ability to get to treatment and allowed his parents to direct their resources towards a large medical bill.
After learning of the grant, Paul emailed, “Family Reach has helped my family a lot. I guess you could say my family was financially stable before my cancer diagnosis. Some of the medical bills from my treatment were covered by my insurance, but not all. Once I was diagnosed for the second time, all of the extra bills started coming in rapidly, including so many co-pays. My parents were really tight on money and Family Reach paid for a household bill so my medical bills could get covered. I am really grateful to Family Reach for the help my family received.”
We are proud to be able to stand by Paul and his family with the help of our donors. Become a Key Holder today and double your impact with a matching gift from The Castle Group. With the help of our Key Holders, we can be there for the thousands of families who will hear the words “your child has cancer” this month.