Cassandra knew about the lump in her left breast, but it was benign. So when doctors told her she had cancer in her right breast she was shocked.
“I really had a breakdown,” Cassandra recalls of that day in February of 2020. “I’m strong but this was devastating. I have 5 sisters. No one in my family has cancer. It’s not like telling you that you have a cold or the flu. It’s cancer. I had no idea where it came from. I broke down. I wondered if it was my fault.”
They caught it early, but the cancer was aggressive. Cassandra had surgery to remove the cancer in April, followed by radiation.
By June, doctors suggested another option: a clinical trial that would require her to travel from her home in Mobile, Alabama to a cancer center in Birmingham – an eight-hour drive round trip. She was required to get herself to Birmingham twice a month in the beginning and then would taper off to once a month.
Each time she traveled Cassandra would spend at least one thousand dollars on gas, parking and lodging, Money, Cassandra says, she didn’t have. “I worked in the police department for 20 years, but I had to stop working because of the cancer. My income is gone because I can’t work.” As a proud woman, she says she didn’t like asking others for help. But she was struggling financially.
One day in an online search, Cassandra discovered Lazarex Cancer Foundation and decided to call. She found the help she needed. In July 2020, one month after she started her clinical trial, Lazarex stepped in to help offset the costs of travel to the clinical trial so Cassandra could focus solely on her health. The foundation reimbursed her for gas, parking and hotel expenses.
When she talks about the help, Cassandra gets emotional. “When Lazarex Cancer Foundation came along, I’m telling you I was so grateful. It lifted a big burden. Words cannot describe what I felt when they came to help. I feel like they helped me heal because I didn’t have to worry about using my debit card… it lifted that stress. By taking care of these costs– it really allows me to rest. They are heaven sent.”
The good news, Cassandra reports, is the trial seems to be working. “I’m feeling good! And I have no reason to say I can’t get to my clinical trial because Lazarex has made it possible for me. I feel great mentally, even when I’m exhausted.”
Today Cassandra is enjoying being outdoors again… walking and getting together with her family – five sisters and 20 nieces and nephews. And she’s thankful she’s able to get the help she needs.