Eugene, Oregon – Here is the story of two young adults diagnosed with cancer two months apart. We will let them tell you their story, in their own words.
Our Story: Jacob Garcia and Haylee Hardin are both 26 and have been together for 3 years. They share a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love. They both got diagnosed with cancer only 2 months apart in 2017. Here is more of their story…
He was diagnosed first. They went to the hospital when he noticed a lump… and while in their minds they knew it was cancer when they felt the rock-hard lump, it was a shock to their hearts when the ER doctor said the words, “that is textbook Testicular Cancer”. First thing the next morning they were already in to see the Urologist and awaiting the results of his testing to know if it had spread. Luckily it hadn’t spread! But testicular cancer spreads to distant areas so quickly that they wanted to get it out right away. So they did the surgery that very same afternoon. There was no time to think about anything, it had just all happened so fast. There was no chance to process or wrap their brains around it.
Jacob wasn’t able to work for a full month after his surgery since his job required heavy physical labor and they had to cut through the abdominal wall during surgery. Jacob needed a lot of care during that time. Haylee was working and going to school and had to miss some classes to take care of him and to be at his surgery and doctor appointments. But they couldn’t afford for her to take any time off of work, because that was their only income. Without Jacob’s income, they became behind on bills, and just barely had the chance to catch up when…
Fast forward only 2 months and Haylee finds a lump… Could it really be breast cancer after Jacob just had cancer? What are the odds of that? They spent the night before her finals in the hospital, note cards and study materials all over the bed. From here, Haylee was sent to one imaging appointment after another: biopsies, ultrasounds, MRIs, CTs. It was Stage 3b Breast Cancer and the tumor had taken over 75% of her breast. There are several types of breast cancer and Haylee’s is triple negative, which is very aggressive and fast growing (and likely to recur within the first year after treatment). They said the tumor had been growing for only about 2 or 3 months. It had already spread to her lymph nodes. The full treatment plan includes chemo, surgery, radiation and oral chemo. All of this adds up to over a year in treatment.
The Financial Dilemma:
Because of all of the side effects and how hard all of the treatments have been on Haylee’s body, she has not been able to work. They are living on one income- from Jacob who is an independent contractor working 70+ hours per week trying to make all of our bills (making no overtime, having no health insurance). The job where Jacob was working threatened to fire him if he missed any more work to go to Haylee’s appointments, and that is when he came up with the idea of becoming an independent contractor. That made it possible for him to be available to stop home if need be, or go to important appointments. But in order to make himself available, he lost his health insurance and set all of his needs aside to take care of Haylee.
Why we need your help:
The biggest and most important thing we need help with right now is financial help to get Jacob’s cancer screenings. He was supposed to be screened for cancer recurrence every 3 months following his surgery, but it has now been almost one year. He has no health insurance but is having symptoms they said to watch out for that could be signs of recurrence (specifically signs that it may have spread to his lungs- which is where they said it would metastasize to first). They are willing to work with us on payment plans, but the testing will add up to around $3,000.
We have been living on one income with Jacob working that much, but it is not sustainable. We are barely making bills, Jacob can’t afford health insurance, and Haylee has needed care and help with things like bandaging open wounds from radiation and such that he either can’t be there for, or has to take time out of his day to do and lose income to stop home and do so.
It has been a very rough year for us, and being only 26 we were not financially prepared for one catastrophe, let alone both of us having cancer.
Please, ANYTHING HELPS!
Thank you for your support!!