For cancer patients in active treatment, Covid – 19 has been extremely difficult to deal with, Especially for those who are facing financial difficulties. At Curémonos, we know exactly what they are going through as we continue to support them in their journeys. All of these patients were already struggling financially before the pandemic and their situation has only worsen due to the reduction of services and resources available at their hospitals and in their communities. They are not only battling breast cancer, but they are also struggling with financial difficulties and the uncertainty brought by the pandemic.
We would like to express our gratitude to The Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation for their generosity in providing ShopRite cards. With their support, we were able to help nine breast cancer patients from Trinitas Hospital, Overlook Hospital and Morristown Hospital. The ShopRite cards were distributed as follows:
Dr. Cholankeril picked up ShopRite cards for four of her neediest breast cancer patients. All of her patients are undergoing chemotherapy treatment and their financial situation makes it extremely difficult to cope with their day-to-day lives. Their stories are as follows:
• Beverly was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. She lost her job and house shortly after her diagnosis. She had to live in a hotel with her children for two years. Despite all of her difficulties, Beverly is extremely grateful to be alive.
• Regina was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer on February 5, 2019. Shortly, after her diagnosis, she lost her job and has not been able to obtain disability benefits. Although her husband works, the loss of her income has put a strain in their financial stability.
• Omaira was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 71 in January of this year. Due to her age and financial difficulties, it has been extremely difficult for Omaira to cope with her diagnosis and treatment. Although she lives with her sister, her sister lost her babysitting job due to the pandemic. Omaira will be using her ShopRite cards to buy food and much needed medication.
• Virginia was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019. She is a single mom with three young children. Due to her treatment, Virginia has not been able to work and must rely on the limited support provided by her family. Virginia has been our client since December 2019.
Since the majority of these patients are new clients for Curémonos, we secured other sources of financial support to help them during this very difficult and uncertain time. Sandra was first diagnosed with early stage, triple negative breast cancer in 2013. She completed her treatment in 2014 and was cancer free for a couple of years. After the birth of her son in 2017, she was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer, which had metastasized to her stomach and liver. Due to the harsh chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Sandra is unable to work. She is married with four children and her family lives on a limited income. Since her husband’s hours were reduced at work due to Convid – 19, she has had to rely on the support of her family. Unfortunately, her family is also struggling financially so their support is very limited.
At the age of twenty-nine, Ashley was diagnosed in September 2019 with an aggressive type of breast cancer. She is a single mom of a four-year-old daughter. She completed several rounds of chemotherapy, which was followed by surgery. She is currently undergoing radiation treatment. Due to the harsh chemotherapy treatments, she had to stop working. Although Ashley is eager to go back to work, it has been extremely difficult for her to find a job due to the pandemic and her ongoing cancer treatment.
At the age of thirty-five, Digna was diagnosed in January 2020 with stage IIIB, triple negative breast cancer. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment and is scheduled for surgery in August. She lives with her husband and two young children. Unfortunately, her husband was furloughed due to Convid – 19. The loss of income has put a financial strain on the family. She has had to rely on food pantries to feed her family. Therefore, she was extremely grateful to be one of the beneficiaries of the ShopRite food cards as she was able to buy groceries for her family during the Memorial Day weekend.
Alison was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in June 2019. Due to the severity of her condition, she lost her consulting job shortly after her diagnosis. It has been a constant financial struggle for Alison and she was hoping to secure a part-time job at the beginning of the year to supplement her disability benefits. Unfortunately, Convid – 19 has put a hold on her dreams to regain financial stability. Despite all of the difficulties, Alison has a positive attitude and is extremely grateful for all of the support provided by Curémonos and other foundations. The following is her testimonial:
“It was fun and always a pleasure to see you today as we did our social distance air hugs. Once again, a great BIG THANK YOU for the Shoprite Gift Card. Your timing is impeccable. What a thoughtful surprise! The end of month always proposes a challenge as cash on hand ends and bills for the coming month begin — it is a continuous cycle. Your generous gift helps me to purchase food items and free up cash on hand for other necessities. Thank you for thinking of me.”
We also helped Natalie who was diagnosed in 2019 with stage II breast cancer at the age of thirty. She was diagnosed while doing her medical residency program at the local hospital. She is married and has a five-year-old daughter. Her husband is a full-time caregiver to their daughter since he also faces his own health issues. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012. Although It has been a very difficult journey for Natalie, she is committed to use her personal experience with breast cancer to help others and to pay it forward to help those in need.
Since the majority of these patients will continue to receive treatment for the remainder of the year, we will continue to provide support through our various programs. For those, who will be in active treatment in December, they are also going to benefit from Curémonos’ Holiday Cheer Program.
Once again, we are extremely grateful to The Connie Dwyer Breast Cancer Foundation for their generous gift and for allowing us to make a difference in the lives of those in need during this very uncertain time.