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Cancer Patient

"It was a tremendous relief to know that HHF paid our utility bill in full."

“People ask me, ‘How did you find the cancer?’ and I tell them, ‘My husband hit me!’”

Leslie, a breast cancer patient, bursts into a joyous laugh. By “hit” she’s referring to the night in bed when her husband elbowed her in the chest accidentally. The next day, Leslie noticed a bruise forming and a lump. When the bruise dissipated over the next few days, but the lump did not, Leslie called her doctor. Two mammograms, a sonogram, and a breast biopsy later, Leslie had a definitive diagnosis: breast cancer.

“You learn to deal with the cancer diagnosis fairly quickly,” Leslie said, “but in the beginning, your head is spinning.” Leslie’s resolve carried her through the next steps – breast surgery then chemotherapy. During treatment, the chemotherapy made her too ill to continue working. Her husband was taking time off work to care for her. Soon, he had exhausted his paid time off.

In time, with Leslie out of work and her husband working less, there was less income to cover expenses. Eventually, the financial balancing act became unmanageable, and they fell $600 behind on a utility bill. When they received the shut off notice, Leslie remembered the kindness of the staff at the Hillman Cancer Center, who said to call if she needed any help.

The staff at Hillman contacted HHF. Through the SLM Cancer Fund, HHF paid the balance in full. “It was a tremendous relief to know it was paid,” Leslie said. This kindness reminded her of a time when neighbors cared for neighbors. “That’s how it felt,” she said. “The way life used to be.”