Andersen Family fundraiser to help pay for Penny's "cobra premium", expenses tied to treatment, & costs of extended unemployment.
- Our blog detailing this journey is at: http://alifesquest.blogspot.com
Penny Andersen was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer (stage 1) in February of 2012 when she had a 4 lb tumor removed. She went on life support after suffering from sepsis shock (her organs were shutting down until she was intubated & extensive medications being pumped into her body). After recovering over a 10 day period in the hospital, a second tumor was found / removed in August of 2012. She underwent BCG Treatment during October/November 2012, underwent a cat scan to see if the cancer has spread due to the pain she was going through, & had a 3rd tumor/lesion removed 11/29 (& she spent another week in the hospital after an adverse reaction to the procedure). Penny had another scope on 03/13/2013 and 3 more small tumors were removed from around the opening to the ureter going into a kidney plus a stent was added in the left ureter (and spent another few days at the hospital Oncology Center recovering). Penny then had another Cystoscopy on 5/31 to remove the statnt (as we sought a second opinion at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in ZIon, IL), and an additional tumor was found/removed along with the stent and Penny spent another couple of days in the hospital recovering. The pathology/lab results came back that the cancer was "high grade", but that it had not invaded the muscle lining. She is scheduled to meet with her CTCA physician team on 6/14 to ome up with a long term action plan.
Steinar Andersen (her husband), was laid off on 09/30/2012 and is unemployed for longer than a month for the first time in 31 years (and he is doing everything possible to help his wife while she goes through this painful process).
This GiveForward.com account has been created to raise additional funds for the Andersen family to deal with the continued medical costs, the continuing monthly Cobra premium, and the excess costs beyond the limited unemployment income.. All donations given through this fundraiser will be going to The Andersen Family to use as needs continue to arise over the next few months to help Penny continue her cancer treatment (as her cobra payments and co-pays plus all bills exceed funds coming in). We thank you all so very much for your support!
The Andersen family has had a pretty rough 16 months medically and financially (and they can really use as much help as possible). They've gone through Penny becoming ill due to Bladder cancer and the costs associated with the treatment / hospitalization. They continue to have extensive medical debt as a result. They also have unresolved medical costs associated with their effort to help their developmentally disabled son (Travis) over the last 18 months while trying to establish in writing his disabilities. They are a proud family who tries to work out their problems themselves and to not be a burden to others.
And now, Steinar (as the family's provider) has the additional problem of being unemployed as of September 30th, 2012 (for the first time in 31 years)... and with no call backs from prospective employers, they must do what they can to make sure Penny is medically taken care of. Prior to this medical setback, they've never asked anyone but family for help, but in this case... they can't financially do this alone (so they are giving it to God and asking the Public for their help). Penny was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer last February (during a routine medical procedure). She had a 4 lb. "low grade" tumor removed from her bladder. She then went into septic shock (with her organs shutting down), was on life support for 3 days, and spent a total of 10 days in the hospital. She was recovering from that when a follow-up procedure in August showed a recurrence of the cancer (and another smaller tumor was removed). She underwent "BCG" treatment (6 weekly treatments) from 9/27 to 11/01. She had a catscan on 11/14 (to investigate her sever pain to her lower left abdomen) to determine if the cancer has spread. She then underwent a scope procedure on 11/29 and spent almost a week in the hospital battling an infection / reaction to the procedure (when a 3rd lesion was removed). She underwent another scope on 03/13/2013 and another 3 small tumors were removed from her bladder plus a stent was added. She then again underwent another scope on 05/31/2013 and another tumors was removed from her bladder (and her stent was removed).
She is now scheduled for a review of her case with Cancer Treatment Centers of America (she is still anticipating undergoing follow up scopes every 3 to 6 months for the rest of her life... with the possibility of follow-up BCG treatments, chemo / radiation treatments, or a complete removal of her bladder should there be any recurrence).
Penny has been and is still presently disabled (she was a shooting victim amongst over 13 victims of the JB Pub shooting in Elgin, IL in 2001). She has permanent limitations to her left arm (with neurological damage cause by the bullet), in addition to a bad back due to a herniated disc plus 2 bad knees (injuries that have happened over time). In addition to this, she has the above mentioned recurring Stage 1 "High Grade" Bladder Cancer (for which she is receiving ongoing treatment). The family is presently paying Cobra to continue Penny's medical insurance through Blue Cross/Blue Shield of North Carolina. Without the ability to afford "Cobra", they would lose the insurance that allows for Penny to keep getting treatment for her cancer. The family has been able to reduce their monthly spend substantially over the past 12 months and are up to date on all major bills (and with Illinois Hardest Hit just approved in January 2013 for the Andersen family, the mortgage will now be taken care of for the next 10 months). What they need, is at least $20,000.00 for the next 11 months (to cover about 11 months of cobra premiums and the additional goal is to help pay down their outstanding medical costs already incurred plus to pay their monthly costs that unemployment & her disability check fall short of paying).
They are doing everything they can by applying for help via the different governmental programs out there. Steinar has also applied for Veteran's Healthcare (but his previous year's income has made him ineligible until the end of the year, so he will have to "make do" until then). Their son Travis has done the difficult by trying to help by buying his own private medical insurance (he works at Walmart part time) to help keep the Cobra premium down (he was approved for a Humana 70/30 PPO plan).... and their parents are very proud of him in doing so. No matter what happens regarding this fund raising effort, the Andersen's appreciate everyone who has helped (God, friends, family, church, and strangers).
*** Dan Para (of www.parafamilyfoundation.org) announced the following on Facebook on March 17th when we began this fundraiser:
"OUR FAMILY FOUNDATION WILL MATCH DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR, EVERTHING THAT PEOPLE CONTRIBUTE TO THIS FUNDRAISER FOR THE STEINAR <Andersen> FAMILY UP TO $10,000.00 by the end of March, 2013!!!" ***
We achieved that $10,000.00 goal on March 31st and the funds were matched. What an incredible blessing and our family is so thankful to everyone for this effort.
As Steinar is still unemployed as of 06/12 and now that Penny is going through extensive medical treatment at the Cancer Treatment Center of America in Zion, IL (we spent 5/22-6/2 there including another cystoscopy and removal of more High Grade tumors), we are extending the fundraising in order to keep the opportunity open for additional fundraising (as it appears it is needed for the long term).