A little over four months ago my son Joshua was diagnosed with Acute T-Cell Lyphoblastic Leukemia. I posted here and set up a PayPal donation link for anyone who wanted to help out. Eden Baylee, a friend and fellow author from Canada, took it a step further. She proposed a fund raising campaign on Indiegogo.com. She set the goal at $10,000 and brought together a stellar group of people to offer books and services to those who donated.
I told Eden at the time, anything above the cost of Joshua's medical costs would go to pay off his college loans and further his education. $10,000 is a lot of money, right? Then the estimate came in for Joshua's initial stay in the hospital. Over $200k not including doctor's fees.
We have insurance, and decent jobs, but...
For my friends who live outside the States, our insurance in the US has a deductible -- what we pay before insurance starts paying -- and co-pays -- what we pay along with insurance for each doctor visit -- and even after the deductible is paid insurance only pays a percentage. In our case that's an 80/20 split on the hospital bill and $81 per visit to the clinic. For two months Joshua visited the clinic an average of four times a week. Then there are meds to buy...
So $10,000 is a lot of money, but cancer treatment is unbelievably expensive. Our home costs less than the initial hospital stay!
The Indies Unite for Joshua Campaign Eden started has been a huge success. The $10k goal was reached and surpassed three days ago. The campaign ends today and I am thankful beyond words to all those who donated and all those who spread the word over various social networks. Every penny of the money raised is going out now to pay Joshua's medical bills. And I am proud to say that thanks to Indies Unite for Joshua, donations here on my blog, and a couple of grants from non-profits, we have kept the bills paid to date without adding any financial burden to Joshua!
But we aren't finished. Joshua went back into the hospital yesterday to resume chemotherapy. He will be in and out of the hospital over the next few months driving the last remnants of leukemia from his body. His most recent bone marrow biopsy showed <.01% diseased cells. The same test showed 80% diseased cells at diagnosis, so he is kicking cancer butt, but any residual disease can come back and be fatal. Even after he fights his way through the next few months there will be 3 1/2 years of maintenance treatment and 5 years of monitoring. He still needs to finish his education and he still has thousands in student loans to pay.
His mother and I are determined to keep this disease from financially burdening a brilliant young man just starting out in life if it takes everything we have.
Please stand with us, and with Joshua, as he continues the battle. I'll be adding a donation link to all my profiles and web pages. Spread the word, tell your friends about Joshua, donate if you can. All those who have already helped, and continue to help, have my eternal gratitude. Beyond the financial support, you have lifted us up and showered us with love throughout the past few months. Please keep Joshua in your thoughts and prayers.