Through Thick and Thin: A Family Sticking Together

A student’s parent is battling cancer. Here’s how you can help.

Kaja Andric, Coverage Editor

Millions of Americans are suffering from economic hardships due to the pandemic and other events, including those in the school community. The Muse is publishing a new series, “Through Thick and Thin,” to anonymously feature student families and raise donations for them through the School of the Arts Foundation. Please consider donating as any amount will make a difference. 

A family’s world––which was, prior to COVID-19 filled with the business of high school and numerous siblings––turned upside down upon the mother’s diagnosis of cancer, and subsequent financial hardships. 

Before COVID-19

“Prior to Covid, it was normal, going through the motions, being a teacher, having a teenager and a [significant other] and two dogs and six other grown adult children,” the parent says, laughing. “Just normal stuff with a big family. But then, COVID[-19] hit.”

Post Diagnosis

School lessons moved online, and the virus became a significant health hazard, as the state of Florida has had over 2.09 million cases of COVID-19 to date. But when this parent received a cancer diagnosis in September, the hazards posed by the virus mounted: low white blood cell counts signified a greater safety risk.

“And that became our world for a while,” she said, “and it still is.”

After surgery, only one member of the family was able to work and support them. Though the mom is hopefully returning to work by late April, she fears that returning to a previous lifestyle devoid of worry may be unattainable. 

How your donations will help

“Our biggest thing is our house payment,” she said, sighing. “It worries me the most. Our house payment and our car payment — I don’t want to lose those things. That’s how we function as a family.”

The diagnosis of cancer meant treatments, such as surgeries, and increased visits to doctors. Consequently, her medical bills skyrocketed. 

“The medical bills. I haven’t even wrapped my brain around [that],” she said. “That’s probably my biggest stressor — they’re big. I have health insurance, but that barely touches the surface.”

The emotional toll

“I would help anybody to go through this — mentally, emotionally, I would be there for them,”  the parent said. 

As the student listens in, they whisper, “Please don’t cry.” The parent’s voice cracks.  

“It’s been very hard [for my child] as a teenager, watching their mother go through this,” she said. “It’s hard as a mom to try and be strong when you have a teenag[er] and you’re going through cancer.”

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