Our Families

When we were told our 17-year old son Samuel had cancer we went from being a normal family, to one that’d been punched in the stomach. My husband was working in the volunteer lay ministry of our church, so I was the sole breadwinner. I was struggling to pay his medical bills, our household bills spend time at the hospital and take care of our other son. And then it got harder.

My son, Samuel, was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of the muscles I’d never heard of. I could have gone lifetime without hearing of it. It was the first week of school. He’d just started his sophomore year and was thinking about sports and grades and maybe . . . girls.

Suddenly he was confronted with cancer. . . and chemo and radiation.

Samuel’s treatment was intense, of course: chemo and radiation for five weeks at a time, five times a week. For a while, he stayed in school, but by the beginning of October, he was housebound. That was the hardest thing for him: being stuck at home while the rest of his world moved on, doing things. My job was great. They let me work from home and, at first, I was able to carry a full-time workload. We tried to stay as normal as possible. It worked, at first.

My husband and I teamed up, of course, managing Samuel’s appointments and taking care of our seventh-grader, Stephen, but somehow there just weren’t enough hours in the working day. I had to cut back on my hours, way back. I was down to half my normal income. But my husband had started working, which helped, and Samuel was responding to treatment, which was all that really mattered.

Then there was a glitch in Samuel’s medical coverage. We got a hospital bill for $25,000.00! Practically the same day, we got a utilities bill for $1,200.00. It was July in the middle of one of the hottest Texas summers on record, and we couldn’t lose our electricity—with half the summer still to go and a sick child stuck in the house.

Our social worker told us about Tackle Cancer. Within seven days, that bill was paid. When I called and heard that the balance was zero, it was like a weight has just been lifted off my shoulders. When you’re struggled to save your child’s life and you just got hit with a huge hospital bill and its brutally hot out, the last thing you need is to get your power cut off.

Then Samuel completed chemo. We started to crawl out from underneath, and we got another big utilities bill. It was just a month later, but we were done with treatment. Technically, the social worker told us, most charities don’t help you when you’ve completed chemo. You’re supposed to be all better then. But my husband went down to Tackle Cancer, hoping to talk to just anyone who could help us.

He was surprised to meet Kimberly Alexander herself. Miss Kim heard our story: that our son was better, but as a family, we were just getting back on our feet. That we had other bills piling up too, like car insurance. She took immediate action. Before we knew it, that bill was paid too.

Samuel is back in high school as a junior now. He’s focused on learning how to drive and getting a car . . . not chemo. Not radiation. We’re working full time and getting back on our feet too, but we needed Tackle Cancer to get over the hump—twice. And they were there each time.