Amelia, transplant and grant recipient
When a family member is facing a life-threatening disease, there are obviously mental, physical and emotional challenges. But there can also be difficult financial challenges, even for those with health insurance—like Amelia’s family.
Amelia and her family had just returned from vacation when her mom, Salome, noticed Amelia was covered in bruises. After two months of testing and doctor appointments, Amelia was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome and high-risk acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
A mother's love
Because nothing’s stronger than a mother’s love for a child, Salome took unpaid leave from her job so she could stay by her young daughter’s side while Amelia spent six long scary months in the hospital receiving chemotherapy.
Amelia finally went into remission in May 2022, but she would need a blood stem cell transplant to ensure her AML would not come back.
You may not know this, but doctors require patients to stay close to the transplant center during treatment. For Amelia’s family, that meant living in temporary housing—150 miles from home—for more than seven months.
"We had already spent six months in the hospital with Amelia prior to transplant. That set us up for how difficult it would be financially on the family once one parent went on unpaid leave," shared Salome.
Three months became nine
Amelia received her transplant in July 2022. And at first, everything went extremely well and she was discharged from the hospital on day 20. But shortly after leaving the hospital, Amelia developed severe graft-versus-host disease and a viral infection. Salome cared for her night and day while the household bills continued to add up.
"The most time we were expecting was three months of leave. However, once the complications with transplant began, things just went downhill very quickly. Then three months turned to five, then six, and before you know it, it was nine months," said Salome.
The only thing predictable about a life-threatening disease is its unpredictability. Every family does the best they can, navigating each twist and turn while enduring one of the most difficult times of their lives. Fortunately, thanks to our amazing supporters, Be The Match® was able to give Amelia’s family a grant to help with their mortgage and household bills.
A grant helped Amelia’s family focus on her health during recovery
A matched gift means twice as much help
Yes, Amelia’s family had health insurance. But insurance doesn’t cover everything. Along with months of short-term housing, there are many other transplant-related expenses that may not be covered, such as on-the-go meals, hospital parking, and clinic and prescription copays.
"Being in an already overwhelming situation with Amelia’s transplant, the grant took some of the stress off of our plates so that we could concentrate on her," Salome shared.
Sadly, Amelia’s family’s situation is not unusual. We hear from so many parents and patients who have to take unpaid leave from their jobs to care for themselves or a family member. Where does the money come from when there are bills to pay?
More families are reaching out to Be The Match each week for financial assistance because they’re struggling with costs to get through transplant. Having to say no could prevent them from pursuing the only chance they have at living. And that is not acceptable to us.
You can help—and double your impact. Get your gift matched when you give by Giving Tuesday (11/28), so we can help more patient families put their financial worries aside, so they can focus on what matters most—the comfort and care of their loved one.