My Mother Was Murdered within the Sandy Hook College Taking pictures. Now I Must Crowdfund for My Healthcare.
A decade after my mom, Dawn Lafferty high jumpwas killed trying to protect elementary school students within the Sandy Hook School mass shootingI’m in the course of yet one more disaster introduced on by poor coverage: crowdfunding to pay for my most cancers therapy.
In late March, I used to be identified with Stage II lymphoma, a major orbital tumor, together with vital sized pre-cancer lots in two of my lymph nodes. Till my analysis, I wouldn’t have understood what most of that final sentence meant. Now I do know. It signifies that with out aggressive therapy, I could not stay to see my thirty eighth birthday.
This analysis got here as a shock to me. I had been conscious of a small spot behind my left eye since 2014, however for 9 years I’d been going to the attention physician usually to have the spot measured. It was all the time the identical. We thought it was scar tissue. That modified final December. Fourteen weeks later, after many assessments, I had a most cancers analysis.
My household has already lived by the trauma of my mother being murdered in a mass capturing. I dreaded telling my 5 siblings that I could die early, too. I simply couldn’t make the cellphone calls—I ended up sending them a textual content message, as a result of the phrases had been simply too arduous to talk.
Earlier than I knew it, I used to be on the cellphone with docs, pharmacies, the insurance coverage firm, and well being advocates attempting to determine what was going to be lined by insurance coverage and what wasn’t. After many appeals and talks with medical evaluate boards, my well being crew advised me that their “conservative” estimate was $60,000 out of pocket however, extra realistically, $100,000 would permit me to stroll away with little to no medical debt.
Listening to these numbers made my head spin.
I assumed I had nice medical health insurance. However I used to be advised that my chemotherapy shouldn’t be lined, in any respect, by insurance coverage.
It’s because its major operate is to deal with stage zero (pre-cancerous) lots. Although I used to be advised that it’s not if these lots flip to most cancers, it’s when and the way rapidly—the chemotherapy capsules that would save my life usually are not lined by insurance coverage.
I’m anticipated to be on a therapy plan of radioactive iodine and chemotherapy for at the least the following 12 months. And the capsules are about $8,000 per spherical. This doesn’t embrace the copays, deductibles, and non-medical bills that my household is dealing with. I’m on a low iodine food regimen, which has skyrocketed my grocery invoice. I’m mandated to make use of biohazard precautions (one time use for toothbrushes, linens, kitchenware, and extra) due to the nuclear medication that’s in my physique.
I’ve spent the final decade combating for stronger gun legal guidelines and dealing to carry the NRA and its allies accountable. That work is all I’ve wished to do after my mother was killed, and it pays the payments, however it doesn’t come near what I must afford my medical bills.
Some might imagine I don’t must work after seeing headlines concerning the greater than $1 billion that Alex Jones was ordered to pay Sandy Hook households for defaming them with despicable lies. However I haven’t seen a cent of that cash and certain gained’t for years, if ever.
So, despite having constructed a public profile by a decade of advocacy, my choices to pay for most cancers therapy are slim.
I’ve no concern asking folks to donate to gun violence prevention work, however it’s a distinct feeling asking for cash for your self. To afford most cancers therapy, I did what many Individuals in my place do. I began a GoFundMe to crowdsource funding for my lifesaving medical care.
That’s the unhappy actuality of healthcare in America, the place even these lucky sufficient to have good protection get caught with “out of community” or uncovered drugs leading to medical payments that can take a lifetime to repay. It’s a disgusting proven fact that insurance coverage firms, not docs, get to determine what is taken into account life-saving care.
Fortunate for me, I’m nearing my crowdfunding purpose. However I do know that if I survive this with no mountain of debt, it should solely be due to my mom, Daybreak Lafferty Hochsprung. My mother died a hero. She was barely over 5 toes tall, and but, when a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary, the place she was principal, she charged at him. Now, a decade after her loss of life, she might save one other life—mine. The overwhelming majority of donations I’ve obtained are from individuals who need to honor her.
I by no means thought there can be “good” that got here from my mom’s homicide. However the easy reality is, if she was not murdered, I’d not have the cash to outlive.
However your mother shouldn’t need to be murdered in a horrific and high-profile mass capturing to have the ability to fundraise the cash you should save your life.
I’m now residing on the crossroads of two uniquely American crises: a decade in the past, my life was without end modified by gun violence. Now, it’s been modified once more by a well being care system that enables insurance coverage firms to place shareholders forward of my survival. All of us deserve higher, on each fronts.
Right here is the hyperlink to Erica’s GoFundMewhich incorporates medical and therapy updates.
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