Grant Recipient: Teresa

I want to go back to work and be able to help others

Diagnosis: Stage I Breast Cancer and Lymphedema

Treatment: Radiation, Surgery, Hormonal Therapy, Physical Therapy for Lymphedema

Grant used for: Compression Sleeve, Utilities, Rent, Groceries

The Caretaker Becomes Ill

Teresa already had her hands full. The 69-year-old took it upon herself to take care of the medical and personal affairs of her 88-year-old mother who does not speak English and is also suffering from dementia. Of course, cancer never waits for a convenient time to strike. In March of 2012, Teresa got a stark medical diagnosis of her own – breast cancer. The caretaker was sick!

Lymphedema Strikes

Teresa underwent radiation and surgery to fight the spread of her breast cancer. Unfortunately, the cancer wasn’t done yet making her life difficult. Teresa developed lymphedema as a result of the surgery, which caused painful swelling in her left arm. One way to help alleviate the pain is to wear a compression sleeve and glove, but Teresa’s insurance didn’t cover those items, and she couldn’t afford them on her own!

Slowly Losing Everything

Reeling from the one-two combo of cancer treatment and now physical therapy to help her manage her lymphedema, Teresa was too exhausted to work. With no money coming in and bills piling up, Teresa’s life started to spiral out of control. She was forced to rent a room in a home to save money. Next, she had to give up her car, because she couldn’t afford the insurance. Now, as her physical therapy continues and hormonal therapy looms in the future, Teresa must take the long, slow bus to her many appointments.

Still Wants to Help Others

Teresa desperately wants to find a way to work again so that she can cover her basic needs and hold onto her independence. Despite all of her many trials, Teresa still envisions a day when she can help others. In her grant application, Teresa told us, “I want to start a nonprofit organization to assist women of other countries who have cancer and don’t have the resources to fight this terrible illness.”

With help from our generous donors, we were able to provide Teresa with a grant that allowed her to finally purchase the compression sleeve and glove she needed to help relieve her pain. The grant also went toward covering some of her basic expenses, so she can focus on getting well and perhaps one day starting that nonprofit!