To Edgar, a Marin Community Clinics patient, the news of a cancer diagnosis came as a shock. He had just turned 37 and, despite having some leg pain, felt fairly healthy. Such terrifying news would disturb anyone — especially someone at his young age — and the timing couldn’t have been worse. His first son had just been born and his wife was still recovering, so the last thing they needed was to deal with such an overwhelming situation.
A stressful emotional and financial time
Edgar’s Marin Community Clinics’ doctor referred him to one of the local hospitals where he could receive care. Although he was ineligible for health insurance at the time — adding to his stress — the Clinics advocated and coordinated care for him through an agreement with the hospital for treating those without insurance. The result: treatment was initiated right away.
There was an additional insurmountable burden. While he was ill, Edgar took care of his son so that his wife could work and provide for the family. However, it still wasn’t enough to pay the bills. That’s when he reached out for support and the community came together to help — first his church and then several other organizations. Funds for food, shelter, and other basic needs were provided to his family for months.
The situation seemed to be progressing well when Edgar received more overwhelming news — the cancer treatment required a leg amputation. Edgar felt defeated. How could he endure this?
Community effort brings hope
Devastated, Edgar mourned the loss of his leg. He knew that getting a prosthetic leg would allow him to continue a more normal life. Without insurance, however, he couldn’t afford a prosthetic leg.
After he had the surgery, the Clinics’ team came together to help him once again. His doctor and care team, including our Care Navigators, rolled up their sleeves and reached out to community organizations. After talking to several, we were able to raise almost half of the amount needed to purchase the prosthesis. The Clinics was able to secure some of the funding through our Medical Assistance Fund, which is comprised of private contributions. Edgar was hopeful.
More generosity — and a miracle
While the Clinics was tirelessly raising more funds, something extraordinary happened. Edgar’s former employer received the news of his medical crisis and decided to donate the remainder of the funds needed. Everyone rejoiced.
Edgar received the prosthetic leg, which made it possible for him to go back to work as a landscaper and to lead a normal life. Because he had undergone a substantial amount of chemotherapy, he had been told he would be unlikely to father any more children. Months later, they received wonderful news — his wife became pregnant. Today, their second son is 5 months old.
Edgar is extremely grateful for all the help he received from so many people at the Clinics and in the community. Most importantly, he is thankful for being alive, being able to enjoy his family, and once again being able to provide for them.