Grant Recipients

Fawn Jacoby

Redondo Beach, CA

Fawn

I made it to 41, now it's time to live the 2nd half of my life!

Wrong! The summer of 2014 will forever be the most devastating time of my life. All I heard was cancer in the breast and lymph nodes, stage 2, then blah, blah, blah. Tears started to stream down my face, not only because I heard the "C" word, but the thought of what will happen to my 3 year old twin boy/girl, my husband, my family.

The panic finally subsided after a few weeks, chemo was scheduled for the next 4-6 months, then we needed to figure out the next steps. It should be obvious that mastectomy is next, but it wasn't. I finished chemo in November, which means that choosing the best surgeon in town would require paying a high deductible, multiple times because the surgeries will be over a span of a year or more. I have been able to tolerate chemo well enough to take care of the family, and work full-time; however, the out of pocket expense still poses a financial burden. We decided to delay the mastectomy a month, knowing that the chemo did not get all the cancer cells, but having all the 3 surgeries in one year would mean paying the deductible once.

The worry and stress was probably obvious to all around me, even with my efforts to not show it. Out on nowhere, someone told me about a nurse named Evelyn and her organization - Evelyn's BFF. This organization alleviated a good portion of our financial burden and allowed me room to breathe. Phew...I was not holding my breath for the first time since all this started.

Thank you Evelyn's BFF for all that you've done to help me, my husband and my children return to a normal life. I may not feel much under my right armpit and breast, but I'm looking forward to a new look, to a different sight of me. Thank you for your unconditional support.

Evelyn's BFF, you have a supporter in me for life!

With much appreciation,
Fawn and the Jacoby Family

See Fawn's letter

Marney Hagen

El Segundo, CA

Marney

My cancer journey started November 4, 2013, five days before my 44th birthday. I was diagnosed with HER2 type cancer, which had spread to my lymph nodes. To say that this was the worst day of my life would be an understatement. I decided early on and promised myself that I would face this head on with a positive attitude and that I would give myself one day to feel sorry for myself and to let cancer have its only victory.

From that day forward, I have kept my promise. Every step in this process I have done something positive to outweigh the negative. When my hair started falling out, I threw a "Beers, Shears, and a Little Tears" party and shaved my head in front of a hundred people. Right before my double mastectomy, I threw a "Ta Ta to the Titties" party with a live band and all. That way, when I look back, I remember the good times those days, not the bad.

My reconstruction is not about "being a woman". It's about looking about my body and knowing that I did everything I could to not let cancer win. It's a daily reminder that life is sometimes not fair or easy, but it's a life definitely worth living.

I have the most amazing family and friends and I couldn't have gone through this without them. They have given me everything I have needed, but financially it has been a struggle. I work for a Lutheran church and it is a nonprofit organization, which means that I don't get state disability. We're only living on my husband's income, so money has been tight. We have a daughter in college and with all of my medical bills, it is hard to stay on top of things.

See Marney's letter

Michele Coleman

Hermosa Beach, CA

Michele

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, went through chemo for six months and radiation for five weeks. I had a left breast malignant tumor removed in 2004 and a right breast benign tumor removed in 2005. A new left breast malignancy was diagnosed in 2010 and I had a double mastectomy. My implants were too large for my frame and I had them removed in December 2013.

My husband and I both had surgery at Torrance Memorial Medical Center and I have arranged payment plans with the hospital and Torrance Anesthesia.

I am retired and currently receiving a small pension. My husband is a realtor and 2013-14 was a very lean year. I can't afford to finish my reconstruction until my current debts are paid in full. This grant allows me to proceed with having my expanders removed and my new smaller implants placed.

See Michele's letter

Terri Bohn

Gardena, CA

Terri

I was originally diagnosed with breast cancer in my right breast only, but would learn just two weeks later after an MRI, that the cancer also existed in my left breast. The fact that I had "very dense breast tissue" made it difficult to detect tumors in the traditional sense, mammogram and even ultrasound, until the tumors were large enough or close enough to the surface of the skin. The most devastating news, besides hearing the words "breast cancer" and "mastectomy" was the news that as part of my surgery I would lost the nipple and areola on my right breast. To me this was most strikingly personal, and losing that very personal part of me, along with the breasts, seemed to define "deformity" in my mind.

Reconstruction of my breasts, including the nipple and areola on my right breast, strikes me as a very personal matter that makes this "justification" difficult for me. That being said, however, I believe that reconstruction will help me feel whole again and not so deformed. I want to feel and look as normal and natural as possible.

See Terri's letter