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Financial Toxicity in the Middle Class

Eden's - Amy Topp - graduation

“New Day understood that even middle class people can be hit hard,” said Amy, a mother of three facing stage IV synovial sarcoma. “We were not on the poverty line, and we didn’t qualify for most assistance.”

“New Day has been there for us more than we could have imagined – when few other foundations would even accept our applications. My husband and I are both urban public school teachers and were financially disqualified for most cancer assistance. While we made a middle-class living prior to diagnosis, that changed with me on disability. Because of my rare diagnosis, we also didn’t qualify for the many assistance programs geared toward more common cancer types,” she explains.

Amy’s rare cancer requires travel to Houston every two-to-three months for treatment with a specialist, which has been an incredible financial burden on the family. Before her cancer diagnosis, both parents worked steady jobs and they had refinanced to a 15-year mortgage. Now that Amy is unable to work at the teaching position she held for more than a decade, the high monthly payments of the mortgage are forcing the family to max out their credit cards and turn to family for financial help.

Under New Day’s new financial navigation program, we are working to resolve problems and find long-term solutions to financial toxicity, while still providing grant assistance to bridge the financial gap.  For the Topps, New Day hopes to eliminate the hefty fees associated with refinancing back to a 30-year mortgage. The difference in monthly mortgage payments will be close to what the family is spending on travel. They also received help with their utility bills to get them caught up.

On the wellness side, Amy is continuing with her prescribed schedule of treatment in Texas and is grateful for the stress relief associated with some financial security. “One good thing that cancer brought – I was able to be home with my daughter the year she graduated,” said Amy.  “I worked my whole life and was so rushed. Me being around has actually been better.”

Amy and her family recently attended our Happy Hour for Hope (pictured above) in Rochester, saying “I really respect the people (at New Day) and it was nice to meet them face to face.  They’re a phenomenal bunch of people – very supportive and community based. It was a very kind and easy organization to work with – and they’re fun and uplifting!” she added.



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