Mary Browning

We found out that my mother, Mary Browning, was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer back in July 2017. She had to give up her job and is now in treatment doing chemotherapy. She will also be having a surgery around February and then does radiation afterwards. We’ve had a rough time dealing with this, and it’s been very hard financially and mentally due to the fact that my father is also very sick and is on hospice, so there is very little money coming in for bills. They have been struggling a lot lately and Helping Hands of Cincinnati are such amazing people to step in to help my mom with some of her bills, so she now has some stress lifted off of her shoulders. Now she can focus more on her recovery. We just want to say thank you so much to Helping Hands – it is a great organization and we appreciate everything you’re doing for our family.

~ Janice Browning

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Tracy Kinney

First of all, I would like to say a huge thank you to Erin with Helping Hands of Cincinnati. They have been a tremendous help for my husband and I to cover expenses during my time off of work after my surgeries.

My cancer journey started 11-28-16 when I was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer at the age of 47. My doctors went after it aggressively with chemo, radiation, and surgery. I handled the radiation with no problems and just minor discomfort during chemo. On 4-25-17 I had surgery to remove the section of bowel that had the cancer cells in it and it went very well. I also got a temporary iliostomy bag during that surgery. But my body doesn’t like to heal properly and with the radiation and chemo damage on top of that, my bowel resection leaked and caused a fistula. On 8-29-17 my surgeon tried to fix the leak through a scope but was unable to. We had to wait until I was finished with chemo and had recovered enough from it before we could do surgery to redo the bowel resection and fix the hole that the leak and fistula had caused. That surgery happened on 11-3-17. My surgeon is cautiously optimistic that it will hold. On 11-24-17 the upper part of my abdominal incision got infected. It is healing now from the inside out. I have to put packing in it each day to keep it from closing too soon. Hopefully in a few weeks I will find out that the bowel has healed properly and we can schedule my iliostomy reversal surgery.
My mom has been with me for all of my visits, treatments and procedures.

One of my dogs that is a registered Therapy Dog has also made this journey with me. He is a french bulldog and his name is Squish and he has been in my chemo chair with me for everything: treatments, post op, pre op, doctor visits, etc. He has made the journey easier for me.
I have had to take off many weeks of work to heal from the surgeries because my job is very physical and involves a lot of lifting. Helping Hand of Cincinnati has made it possible to let go of the financial worry and stress during my recovery times.

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Dan Gilbert

I wanted to take a moment and thank the Helping Hands of Cincinnati for all of their kindness and the support that they have shown my family in the last few months. I had never had to reach out for help in any way from anyone until my world shattered in October 2016. My daughter Elizabeth crossed paths with Alicia thru her work and Alicia encouraged her to inform us that the organization was there for those in their time of crisis.

My husband Dan “my world and my best friend” of 33 years was diagnosed with cancer. The Dr. that broke the news to us showed her heart felt sadness as she said told us that Dan has a large cancer mass on his liver and a spot on his lung. The word cancer stuck in our minds and that’s all I heard as time stood still. We cried and I know we both were thinking why him. Dan has spent his whole adult life in law enforcement and helping others in their time of need.
The journey then began for us trying to determine how his other organs were effected and after many scans and x-rays it was discovered that Dan has stage 4 Colorectal cancer and had spread to the liver and lung. Dan has had many chemo treatments since November 2016 and has recently had colorectal surgery.Dan hasn’t been able to work and provide for the family since this all began. All a person can think about is making it all go away and wake up from the nightmare. We try to be strong and keep our faith during each waking moment. Many people, even total strangers have helped in our financial need so that we can buy groceries and pay our mortgage and we are so grateful .Helping hands has provided assistance so that we can make our car payment and utilities and medical bills. I will be forever grateful for all of their kindness.

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Angela Dietz

I wanted to thank you and your organization for the assistance offered for my mother Sharon Gantenberg, she has stage 4 cancer and this is her 3rd round of chemo. She has been on unpaid leave now since late January 2017. I had been covering her bills and mine since then, and while I was sinking in debt, we received a letter stating that her employer had stopped paying their share for her medical insurance in march. As your can understand, medical insurance is critical at this point. I spoke to American Cancer Society and they referred me to your organization to reach out for assistance. Helping Hands paid March and April to get her back on track and me. What an amazing thing. I’m so blessed to have found Helping Hands, and for them to offer assistance of any kind. Thank you so much for your help!

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Sicola Bailey

In September 2016 I started to have pain in my right shoulder. I thought I did something to it. In October my shoulder pain was getting unbearable so I went to see my doctor. He referred me to an orthopedic doctor and he sent me to get an MRI. I was at home when the doctor called to let me know he couldn’t help me and he referred me to an orthopedic specialist surgeon. I went to see him and he also sent back for another MRI and biopsy. By December I had 3 MRI, 1 CT scan and a biopsy. I found out in late December that I had SARCOMA. I had to stop working because I could not use my hand anymore. I could not shower myself, I could not go to the bathroom by myself or dress myself. I felt as if my world was crumbling around me. It was at stage 3. The doctor said it was an aggressive cancer therefore it was recommended to do radiation for five weeks to shrink it and then I would have surgery two weeks later. I started radiation in January 2017 but by the second week the pain was so intense I had to have surgery a few days later.

It was now my husband alone that was working and the bills started to get out of control. One day after praying I got a call from the American Cancer society and was told that someone from Helping Hands want to help me with my bills. Helping Hands helped save my home from going into default. They also paid my utility bills. There are no words to express my sincere gratitude for the help I have received.

I have now resumed radiation but am still unable to use my arm to do anything much. The doctor said they did not get it all out as some of it is on the bone. It is so heart breaking and depressing at times, but with foundations such as Helping Hands around I know I will make it.

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Huxley Williams

In September 2015, our family was forever changed. Our toddler, Huxley, was diagnosed with a DIPG brain tumor – the same kind of brain cancer that Lauren Hill fought, that is 100% terminal. Because of the aggressive nature of DIPG, and where it resides deep in the brain stem, our son Huxley quickly deteriorated to the point where we were forced to put our jobs on hold, send our other two children to friends’ and family’s houses, and spend every waking moment in the ICU at Children’s Hospital with him. My husband’s employer was compassionate and worked with him during our son’s illness. I, however, lost my position as a Director of Marketing, which would have been a blow to our household during normal circumstances…and these were anything but normal circumstances.

There is no cure for DIPG. The standard of care is radiation, which our son couldn’t endure because of a severe reaction to the daily anesthesia required to radiate toddlers (many other DIPG children his age have this sensitivity). That meant the doctors had nowhere to turn, so we tried every alternative therapy imaginable in hopes of helping him, or at least alleviating his suffering as much as possible. This was not a time to weigh costs or care if we could afford these things.

Midway through his illness, a friend told our story to Helping Hands. Even though they had already exhausted their funding for the year to help other families, they were kind enough to make it work. They took care of bills that otherwise probably would have gone unpaid, because we simply didn’t care at the time. Helping Hands proactively reached out to us to see how they could help, and they always did so without making us jump through hoops or fill out mountains of paperwork.

Huxley passed away in April 2016, eight months after his diagnosis. Without the generosity of organizations like Helping Hands of Cincinnate, my husband and I wouldn’t have had the luxury of abandoning our daily life to be with him when it mattered most. We are eternally grateful.

The Williams Family
Cheryl, Nathan, Chloe, and Watson

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JoAnn McCarthy

My husband was diagnosed with stage 3 pancreatic cancer in March 2016. Our world as we knew it will never be the same.

My husband was declared disabled immediately. He worked for a small, family owned business that had no benefits. We had no savings, 401K, etc as I had been laid off twice in 2 years. We were still recovering from that. My salary alone was not enough to pay our expenses. We never needed assistance before and were unsure how to go about asking for it.

Our social worker from the hospital suggested applying to Helping Hands. I worked with Erin and she was wonderful! Always upbeat, always ready to help. I think what I remember most is, after processing the bills I sent her, I told her how much peace of mind she had given us she replied, “That’s the point!  One less thing!  It is very much our pleasure!”

We could not have made it without Helping Hands. They paid the expenses we couldn’t. This is truly an amazing organization.

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Perfecto Kateule

The impact of cancer on the family are many and can be overwhelming especially if the cancer directly affects the bread winner or head of the household.

When I was diagnosed of colorectal cancer in July last year, my entire world crumbled – almost came to a standstill, like everything stopped moving. I was in shock, the level of depression deepened. I was just looking forward to celebrate my 43rd birthday last November and I wondered how on earth i could be diagnosed with cancer at this age. Why me? is just but one of the many questions that kept ringing in my head, sadly I could not find any suitable answers then and now.

I started chemotherapy and radiation therapy about September 2015 and the obvious happened. I became so weak that I had to stop going to work, which meant no pay check but more bills. Paying for my rentals and other bills soon became a major problem for me. However, through my social worker at Christ Hospital in cincinnati a miracle happened when one day she broke the news that a charity was willing to help me out with payment for my rentals.

I met Alicia from Helping Hands (who i must say was very, very welcoming and helpful) for a brief interview. When she promised and assured me that helping hands was going to help, I was speechless.

Your help could not have come at better time than when I was on the down low both mentally and physically. While I have been going through such a difficult time, Helping Hands has not only helped me financially but mentally too. You have made me believe that there are still good people out there who are willing and ready to assist others in great need. I have been out of employment for almost a year now, my financial needs are many but your great help has helped me to make it through my cancer treatment. (Please do not shut your doors on me).

Words can not express how grateful I’m to Alicia and Helping Hands for the assistance i have received so far. May the almighty God richly bless you helping hands forever.


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Bob Korth

When my husband Bob lost his job after 36 years, our world turned upside down. When he was diagnosed with kidney cancer after only a few months on unemployment, one of his biggest fears was that our family would be bankrupt. For most of our marriage we had depended on his income.

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Josie Shuler

The long-term prognosis for Josie Shuler wasn’t promising. Doctors told her that most people with the type of Stage 4, triple negative breast cancer that she had usually don’t live beyond eight months following diagnosis. What they didn’t know was that Josie Shuler wasn’t like most people.

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