Grant Recipient: Noni

Noni and Spike with Nurse Navigator Maureen

Noni and Spike with Nurse Navigator Maureen

The addition of cancer has caused me to lose my independence

Diagnosis: Stage III breast cancer (diagnosed 12/15)

Treatment: Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, reconstruction

Grant used for: Auto payment, auto insurance, groceries

A Difficult Life, and Then Cancer

For Noni, life has long been a struggle. Early into her 20s, Noni was wracked by chronic back pain and fibromyalgia so severe that she was forced to go on permanent disability. The loss of her health and her autonomy brought on severe bouts of depression. Throughout all these significant challenges, Noni managed to find small rays of happiness. She learned to stretch her small monthly disability payments so that she could afford a simple apartment, and she found unconditional love from her pet dog.

It was a life, and Noni was making it work…until cancer came knocking.

Two Devastating Blows

At end of December, 2015, Noni discovered that she had stage III breast cancer. Her medical team took swift action. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction and is now slated to receive radiation therapy. Her doctors want her to also consider chemotherapy, but Noni’s fragile emotional state has left her uncertain about whether she can handle the punishing chemo treatments.

That’s because even as Noni added cancer to her list of health woes, her carefully balanced financial life was also crumbling beneath her feet. In January of this year, she received a notice that her disability benefits were being reduced by 31%. The difference was only a few hundred dollars, but for someone like Noni who was always living on the edge of financial stability, this reduction was more than enough to throw her world into chaos.

Losing Her Independence

Noni never had much, but she was proud of that small apartment. With her benefits severely cut and medical costs piling up, she was forced to move in with a friend. With no family and no savings, she had to accept food donations and transportation help from her small network of friends.

Noni tells us, “The addition of cancer has caused me to lose my independence, and I am struggling to make ends meet.” Her biggest challenges are finding money to make her car payments and to afford gas so she can keep going to her treatments.

At SOPFCA we were glad to give Noni some good news in what has been such a challenging year for her. With the support of our friends at SITE, we were able to provide her with an expanded grant that helped her make a car payment, catch up on car insurance, pay for gas, and buy groceries. We hope that with fewer worries on her plate, Noni will feel emotionally strong enough to accept her doctor’s recommendation and undergo chemotherapy when the time comes.