The social worker explained “what some families face” – and “some families” became us.
When Erica and her husband planned their family’s dream vacation to Colorado last summer, they knew it would become harder to spend time together as a family after their son Lane graduated this year. They had no idea what a blessing that family backpacking trip would turn out to be.
In early December, their son Lane began to complain of extreme leg pain. The family was then astounded to find out that not only was his leg broken, but that cancer was the cause of the break.
“That kind of rocked our world,” said Erika. “It was a whirlwind while Lane was processing it and we, as parents, were worried about the grown-up stuff.”
Part of their concerns were the loss of income they would suffer to be with Lane during his critical treatments. The pair have owned and operated their own bike shop for 12 years, which means they have no paid time off and few employees to cover when they are out.
“We decided as parents that we’d shut our shop down on those intensive treatment days,” said Erica. “We knew that by shutting down even for one day, there would be financial consequences, but we had to be parents first. We both wanted to be with our son.”
“People kept asking ‘what do you need?’” said Ericka. “I didn’t know – and that became stressful! Then in walks Heather, the social worker at Beaumont hospital, who physically handed us the New Day application. She said, ‘Here are things families face, and here’s what New Day can help you with.’
While Lane went through chemo, Erica and her husband hammered out the New Day application at the hospital.
“It brings out things you might not know you need,” she explained. “Will we need help with food? With bills? Fast forward a few months and – OMG, we do! It seemed vague at the start but became really obvious, really quickly, what we needed help with. The social worker was explaining ‘what some families face’ – and ‘some families’ became us.
“We were dumbfounded that there were services like this,” she added. “You’re fortunate that you don’t have to know those exist. We got immediate support with our mortgage – which was a huge help – plus our energy bills and my car insurance. It’s also a nice safety net to have the grocery program and the emotional support available, if we need it.”
“I would’ve never known and might never have looked for this kind of help,” Erica explained, praising her hospital social worker for bringing New Day to her attention. “It’s that people connection that was so important to us. We trusted her and we knew she had a good relationship with New Day, so we felt comfortable sharing our banking and financial information. The follow-up from New Day was so nice, too.”
Today, the family is celebrating Lane’s high school graduation and looking toward the future. His PET scan last week showed no evidence of lymphoma. His leg is healing well, his hair is growing back, and he even went to prom feeling good.
“He can LITERALLY walk across the stage!” exclaimed Erika.
“We know there is a community out there supporting (New Day financially), and we have major appreciation for that community,” she added.