When Veronica’s 14-year-old son Jorden was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in May, she didn’t know the first thing about cancer. As they headed to his first chemo appointment, she had plans to return to work the next day. It was a shock to both of them that this would be a grueling four-day, three-night process bound to repeat every few weeks.
“I can’t leave my baby to go to work,” she decided, “this is too scary! After that, we scheduled chemo over the weekends whenever possible, but there were weeks when I missed four days of work.” Although her employer cares and understands, Veronica is still not paid if she is not at work.
Veronica is a hard-working, single mother who provides for her family. She and Jorden had moved in with her mother to care for her when she became ill two years ago. Also living in her mother’s older, two-story home in West Michigan are her sister, who has Down’s Syndrome, and her sister’s three children.
When Jorden was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor in his leg, the doctors tried chemo, but the tumor did not shrink. Just two months after his diagnosis, Jorden’s leg was amputated.
“That just turned my world upside down,” said Veronica, “but he was strong and rarely even cried. He had played football for five years and he was really good at it; I believed he would make it,” she added.
After Jorden’s surgery, navigating the long, steep staircase of his grandmother’s old home on his crutches became very stressful for the family. His bedroom was upstairs and the only bathroom and shower were on the main floor. With work requiring Veronica to leave him at home, Jorden was not only struggling to navigate the staircase, but also to warm his food and carry it while on one leg with crutches.
Veronica knew she had to find a new living space to accommodate Jorden, but struggled to find anything that would work. Finally, a friend found a one-story house for rent. It was perfect – except she couldn’t afford the deposit, despite having saved everything she could. New Day stepped in to help, making it possible for Veronica and Jorden to move into a new, safer home.
“Cheryl (at New Day) worked with me so well,” said Veronica. “I said ‘There’s no way I can do a $1,500 deposit.’ When she told me that it was handled, I said ‘You have no idea how happy I am right now. I feel so blessed.’ I just appreciate her so much because she cared about Jorden and she cared about my story – that was important to her. We had to go through so much (with the lease), and she gave me pointers and advice. I even got to move in five days earlier than we expected.”
“I love going home now!” Veronica exclaimed. “When I’m at work he can (safely) fend for himself. He loves it; he seems happier – I see a change in him. We’re just so thankful – the people at New Day really knew how we were living. Jorden was strong through it all, but now he’s strong and HAPPY! If it wasn’t for New Day, we’d still be at my mom’s house.”