Tarrya and her husband had recently sent their two older children off to college and were enjoying a weekend at the Kalahari Resort with their 7-yr-old daughter when the devastating news arrived: the lump in her breast was invasive ductal carcinoma, HER2 positive, an aggressive form of cancer.
“On Dec. 14 (2021) at 1:14 pm, I received the call,” Tarrya vividly remembers. “My whole body became numb and I fell to the ground. My husband saw the news on my face from across the whole place.”
As a busy working mother of three, juggling two new college tuitions for her sons, Tarrya had worked full-time at the same company for 18 years when she was diagnosed. Her husband was self-employed in landscaping and home remodeling, which means not being paid when he wasn’t working. The family had a small savings, but that would soon be wiped out by family tragedy.
In January 2022, Tarrya’s mother passed away unexpectedly. Tarrya and her sibling covered all of the funeral expenses. This, paired with financial help she had provided to her father after his house burned down recently, drained what savings the family had.
As Tarrya prepared to begin chemo in December, she had contracted COVID and treatment was delayed. She began her chemo on January 20 – just two days after her mother passed. Throughout all of these struggles, she continued to work 32 hours at her job. She held the health insurance for the family – a critical need for the cancer journey she would embark upon.
“The bills kept piling up and we were going downhill,” she said.
New Day stepped in to help with the family’s mortgage and DTE bill before the shut-off notice could take effect.
“We are truly thankful for cushion that New Day provided, and especially all the food – it helped me so much!” she added. “One volunteer even went above and beyond. I was too sick to answer the door, so my daughter greeted the (grocery volunteer). She happened to have a Squishmallow stuffed animal in her car that she had just bought and didn’t know what to do with, so she gave it to my daughter! It was just meant to be.”
On January 20, 2023, Tarrya and her family marked the one-year anniversary of the start of her cancer treatment. Today she is officially “cancer free,” but carries ongoing anxiety about the future.
“My last chemo is tomorrow!!,” she exclaimed. “It’s so scary right now….what happens next? So much worrying….getting back into the world. But I know that I want to give back and volunteer when I can.”