September 30, 2008

Help Wanted

If you follow the JoS game threads, you probably recognize the nickname "SoSock". His real name is Tim and he's a big part of this blog's community. Tim and his wife Cathy live in North Carolina.

Cathy has stage 4 breast cancer -- and she does not have health insurance. She decided to go public with her story in the hopes of shining a light on the disgraceful refusal of both political parties in the US to guarantee its citizens even the basics of health care -- something everyone should be entitled to simply by existing. (Laura blogged about Cathy here.)

Fifty million Americans have no access to health care (despite what the Republicans claim (and the Democrats are little better)). For most of us, it's hard to get a sense of such a huge number, so here's the story of one of those 50,000,000 people:
My name is Cathy Baskin. I've been married 32 years, have three children, all above the age of 26, and six grandchildren ranging from one year to age 17. In my former life I was an Oncology and Hospice Nurse.

In 1996, I was involved in a serious car accident that effectively ended my nursing career. My husband is self-employed, so, as a nurse, I had carried all our health insurance.

In 2002, I felt an egg-sized lump in my breast, and went to the doctor. Even though he felt it, too, the mammograms had come back clean, so he decided it was "nothing". He didn't even do a biopsy. I was 44, pre-menopausal, and had fibrocystic breast disease. Taken together, this means mammography results are all but useless. But I had no health insurance, so there was no follow-up.

By the following year, the lump had grown: my left breast was almost twice the size of my right. In February 2004, I was finally diagnosed with Stage 3b breast cancer.

Drug companies helped me pay for my initial treatments. After six months of chemo followed by radiation, then more surgery, I was clear for about six months. Then the cancer metastasized to my bones.

I am now in Stage 4, no longer considered curable. No more help from the drug companies.

After my doctor wrote a letter confirming that my cancer is terminal, I was able to get disability benefits and Medicare. This does help, as it covers 20% of my chemotherapy. But 20% of $50,000/month still leaves a lot.

We earn $200 more than what Medicaid allows, which means I must pay for most of my Medicare benefits. This leaves $700/month for all our personal and household expenses. I've come to realize that there is nothing I can do about the financial aspect of having cancer, so I don't worry about it anymore.

What I do worry about a great deal is keeping our house. Our mortgage payment is only $700/month. We couldn't rent a place in our area for less than that. My husband's work van has almost 400,000 miles on it. We have spent more than $600 worth of repairs on the van this month alone so that he can continue to work.

I spent the better part of August and September in the hospital. The very day I came home, my car's transmission crashed. Now I am stranded. There is no way I can afford to fix it, nor would that even be wise, as the car would still need another $500 to $1,000 in other repairs. So now I must find friends who can drive me to my doctor appointments and chemotherapy sessions.

I feel stuck. What little control I thought I had has gone up in smoke.

Please help me raise the $4,000 we need to get a decent used car.

If I were being asked to donate money, I would want to check out the truthfulness of the story. So please feel free to visit my website.
You can make a donation -- as little as $10 -- through this webpage. Note: Your donation will become an actual payment only if the listed goal of $3,301 is met. If it is not, all pledges will be voided.

If you enjoy this blog, I hope you'll consider helping Tim and Cathy. I'd be thrilled if they had a reliable car (and maybe some extra gas money!) by the time the Red Sox clinch the 2008 World Series.


Zenslinger said...


I wish you the best.

Joe Grav said...

Done. Best of luck sosock!

nixon33 said...

is there more we can do? please let us know!
our thoughts are with you.

CaKeY said...

C'mon guys $2481 left! Let's go!

CaKeY said...

Has this been posted on SoSH?

Unknown said...

Sending positive vibes to NC! Go Cathy! Go Sox!

Amy said...

Great idea to post here and at WMTC. I hope that they meet the goal quickly.

SoSock, we wish you and Cathy all the best. May you have a sweet new year.

GK said...

I dont comment much, but I read the blog a lot. I did my bit. I wish Cathy and Sosock well.
Thanks RS for sharing this.

tim said...

Wow, just finished reading this post and the other linked stories.

This is just awful :( - makes me want to cry, and punch things. Very upsetting.

In game threads, I did read SoSock's comments about this situation but didn't really want to ask questions/look into it at the time, for whatever reasons... Thank you, redsock, for shedding some light on this for me (and everyone else), I will for sure assist SoSock and Cathy in their fight.

As Greg said...Go Cathy!

tim said...

Paypal started working again so I got my pledge in.

I wish you the best of success in reaching the goal and hope to see it soon!

laura k said...

We're up to $1460! In case you haven't seen, this is also posted at wmtc. Anyone else who has a blog can do the same. It can't hurt.

laura k said...

Tim, I'm sure you're not alone in that. Probably many people saw mentions in gamethreads about Sosock's wife in the hospital, but you don't want to pry.

makes me want to cry, and punch things. Very upsetting.

Yes indeed.

truth said...

Happy to donate; sad that my country would rather throw billions at Wall Street crooks than spend it on national health care.

I think you should put this post at the top of your blog. Just a very short post that links to this post (so you can still see the newest Sawx post).

efd said...

I just contributed as well... all the best to Cathy and SoSock.

SoSock said...

Dear JoS Nation :
I'm a little taken aback. I never expected to see this up on JoS.
You guys are the best.
I didn't know about this project myself until Cathy sent her e-mail to Laura thinking it was going to one of her friends from Temple. After Laura offered to put it on WMTC, Cat came to me to ask if I minded. I thought about it, hassled with the pride thing for a while, then considered the social issues nature of WMTC. While Cat's health is not the only source of our financial struggles, it is true that had we had insurance Cat might have been diagnosed in time to prevent a lot, if not all, of what we are going through now, including the loss of almost an entire month of income while she was in the hospital in August. If it were not for the fact that we are pretty much raising our 5-yr. old grandson right now, I would have insisted on making do with my work van until I could get us another vehicle. But I can't put both her and Gage in the van safely, and she really does need a vehicle here in case something happens while I'm a ways off on a job. So I swallowed deep and said "why not?". It never occured to me it would end up here.

Thanks to all those who have pitched in, and please know that this is a one-purpose, one-goal event. If we do not accomplish our goal, all donations are returned and we will look for another way. I have of course been earmarking money for this myself, but it has been slow going as I try to catch up from August. I will send what I have pulled together to the site to help reach the goal.
If it works out, perhaps I'll have a car I can trust to get me to Boston for JoSapalooza :)
And hopefully things will be a little looser then, and I can buy the first round of dirty water after the game, if Ish will let me. :)
Thanks again,
aka SoSock

MattySox said...

Couldn't do much, but sent what I could...Our prayers are with you Cathy...

laura k said...

Sosock, when you allow friends to help, you give us all a gift. We want to do it, and we're glad to have the opportunity.

SoxgirlNYC said...

I'm another loyal JoS reader, though I don't comment much. My thoughts go out to Cathy and SoSock and I wish them all the best. I am happy to be able to help in some small way.

Red Sox Monster said...

I think we've just put her over the top.

Cancer hits pretty close to home in my family, too. All my best.