Mom Fired After Disclosing Cancer Diagnosis
While Rachel’s breast cancer diagnosis was a shock to the young, healthy single mother of two, the loss of her job five days after disclosing her cancer to her employer was terrifying. For so many families like Rachel’s, the substantial loss of income coupled with the costs of cancer treatment is as much of a concern as the cancer itself.
“It was extremely hard,” said Rachel. “I’ve never been fired before and I’m a worker bee. That’s my sense of accomplishment in life, so it was completely heartbreaking to lose my job. I was a full-time regional property manager when they eliminated my position. I’ve never been in trouble; never been reprimanded; never, ever felt my job was in jeopardy.
“I filed for unemployment, only to learn that a month of unemployment was what I’d make in a week,” she added. “That was terrifying – I thought ‘how am I going to survive?!’ Knowing the medical bills would start rolling in was also terrifying.”
As a single mom of two girls, ages 8 and 10, Rachel had been building a happy and successful life for her family for nearly two years. She had a good job, an apartment she loved and was co-parenting with the girls’ father successfully, but receives no child support. When she lost her job after her cancer diagnosis, her main concern was eviction from her home.
“I don’t want to lose where I live,” Rachel said. “It’s home and it’s been my stable place to rebuild our lives. It’s my safe and happy place, and I didn’t want to move the kids from the stability they felt here either.”
Her children have also felt the impact of Rachel’s cancer and the loss of her job, but she says she works hard to eliminate the fear for them by having short, open conversations often. Due to her loss of income and impending medical bills, they had been pulled from after school care and plans for summer camps were also cancelled. (Luckily, the girls were accepted to Camp Kesem for one week of virtual camp this summer at no cost.) Their lives have also been altered as they become more sensitive to bringing germs into the home, worrying about Corona virus and reducing contact with others due to Rachel’s weakened immune system.
“The last time we were able to go to the grocery store together, which we no longer do together, my oldest daughter said to the younger, ‘Mom doesn’t have a job, you can’t be buying junk food.’ The oldest understands, and we just roll with it,” explained Rachel.
After a friend pointed her in the direction of New Day, Rachel said she felt relief. “I don’t have to worry about these big ticket items for a few months,” she thought, “this is amazing. I had also just bought a car and I didn’t want my credit ruined over things that are so out of my control.”
Now that New Day is helping Rachel and her family with the bills, she says she can focus on her chemo treatments and surgery, followed by radiation treatments into summer, knowing that she has the money to get through these tough times. She also hopes to one day be able to give back to New Day Foundation.
“I’m so grateful,” she added. “What you guys do for people is truly amazing in the scariest of times.”