Stories of Success: Maddie Beats Leukemia, ShelterCare Saves Her Family’s Home

Sc photoThere is a little girl named Maddie who can thank modern medicine for saving her life from cancer. And there is a nonprofit named ShelterCare that Maddie can thank for saving her family’s home when it was threatened by the cost of her illness.

Maddie was 14 months old when she was diagnosed with leukemia, leading to two and a half years of chemotherapy. Her mother, Amber, said that Maddie’s experience was better than that of many children affected by this terrible disease. She was declared in remission after just one month and Maddie’s longest stint in the hospital was “only” 30 days. 

Caring for a seriously ill child challenged the family’s finances. Amber had to quit her job and for a time relied on unemployment, welfare, fundraising events, and support from friends and family to make ends meet. In 2014, she returned to work as a bookkeeper for a health insurance company, but the much-anticipated end of Maddie’s chemotherapy also brought surgery and many appointments. In September 2015 Amber was forced to take a temporary, but unpaid, leave from her job.

Though Amber’s paychecks went away, her bills didn’t. Soon, she was unable to pay rent and eviction seemed likely for the family. Then a couple of fortuitous referrals directed her to ShelterCare’s Homelessness Prevention Program. “What an amazing program,” Amber declared, “and I didn’t even know it existed!” 

ShelterCare Case Manager Jen Aguilar helped Amber bridge the financial gap. Jen arranged three months of rent payment, as well as help with utility bills. She also provided much-needed support and encouragement for the family. Amber enthusiastically expresses her gratitude. “Jen is awesome, somebody I like spending time with.”

Thanks to the Homelessness Prevention Program, this family is looking at a much brighter future—as well as new, positive challenges. “I’m returning to work, so Maddie will be going to day care for the first time in her life,” Amber explained.

In hindsight, would Amber do anything different?

“ShelterCare is amazing but I wish I had found them earlier!”

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