Story and photo by Scott Walker
30 year old Kimberly Lee and her family are about to lose their apartment in Murfreesboro, TN. Needless to say, she is having a tough time.
In September of 2017 she learned that she has cervical cancer. Doctors told her that she needed to be on medication and have surgery. They also told her that she needs to be back at their office in one week. To date, neither of the three things have occurred. Kimberly explained, "It’s so expensive to get help, so I’m not dealing with it."
She has insurance, but the co-pay is too high for her to make ends meet and pay for the treatment she needs. I asked, "Can you tell it is getting worst," talking about the cancer. She said, "I can, because when I lay in bed at night – when I lay down – it gets worse and I cramp… everything’s just changing in my body (tears)."
She talked of her childhood and said that she was born into this world as an alcoholic with fetal alcohol syndrome. At age 14 Kimberly and her six siblings were placed into the Tennessee Foster Care system. By 15, she turned to alcohol and eventually aged out of the system only to learn how to live life on her own at 18.
Life was not easy and by 24 she was pregnant with her first child. The following years grew harder and she told me the father of her children abused her. One time was described as a living hell… "He held me down in the garage during the winter and I was naked as he poured cold water on me." She said there were worse things that she went through as well while swallowing tears.
Twice she went through rehabilitation for addiction, but she failed to address childhood trauma and abuse as an adult. Her past likely has a direct link to her stress, depression and anxiety today. Most recently, that anxiety got the best of her. Explaining, Kimberly stated, "I actually just got out of the hospital three days ago from having a bunch of mental breakdowns and I went and turned myself in to TrustPoint down here and I stayed for a whole week."
Her husband is working extremely hard each day at Nissan to make ends meet, but past medical bills, rehab, apartment rent, utilities and now a repossessed car have taken quite the toll on them. Kimberly said her husband is now paying to get rides into work each day because they lost their car. To add stress to them, an apartment eviction may leave them on the streets while searching for a new place to rent. They have to be out on Sunday (2/4/18).
Currently, her children are staying with a relative in Nashville. Remember, she does not have parents to call on for help like most of us do as she was placed into the foster care system at age 14. Her stepson in high school remains in school locally as the younger children are too young for school and are 6 or under.
I asked what people can do to help and she said, "You know what, I don’t know – I don’t have an answer for that because I don’t really get help… I don’t get help from nobody."
Listen to the 6 MIN and 43 SEC Interview with Kimberly:
Helping Kimberly and her family:
I had a few ideas of what could be done so I contacted a friend of mine who is a local pastor. He called some friends and now they have the money to make a deposit on a new apartment – if they can get approved for an apartment. I asked if I could name the folks who helped and with a laugh my friend responded, "Sure, tell them a bunch of folks that love Jesus and love how to believe wide open helped!"
I then turned to another friend to get help for treating her cancer, which she shared medical records with me to verify the damage that was found about 5 months ago. The friend I shared that information with just happens to have the exact same OBGYN. But, we don’t have an answer yet on IF medical help is available for her – However I hope to have information on that soon.
Counseling is something else that is needed, which I think I already have someone to call on who will be more than happy to help in a major way.
What can you offer?
Confirmed help with cervical cancer – Keep in mind she has insurance through Blue Cross, but no money for co-pay. So, do you know of a medical group willing to help?
Gift cards for grocery visits or restaurants would be positive.