“I’m so grateful to work for HCA Healthcare, because for me, this is like an enormous second family,” Margaret says. “Working with people who give simply because they know it will benefit a colleague in need is just a blessing.”
After advance screening found lumps in her breasts, biopsies confirmed Margaret’s fears: cancer. “It felt so unfair,” she says. “With a couple of children still living at home, I’d gone back to school to start planning for the next phase of life, to transition from LPN to RN. I didn’t want this to stop me.”
One of her first thoughts was how the diagnosis would affect her family financially. “We’re a two-paycheck family, and I didn’t have short- or long-term disability. I didn’t think I would ever need it. When I crunched the numbers and thought about the money I’d be losing while I didn’t work, it became overwhelming. I didn’t know if we’d face foreclosure or what would happen to my ability to continue schooling.”
Margaret’s manager encouraged her to apply for a Hope Fund grant, which is when she first learned of the colleague-supported charity.
“Emotionally, it was hard to ask for help because I always want to carry my own weight,” she says. “But the caring staff at the Hope Fund offered a lot of support. The website was also helpful for gathering information and answering my questions.”
Margaret underwent a double mastectomy in July 2018. Less than one month later, a Hope Fund grant allowed her to cover the mortgage, utilities and other expenses that likely would have gone unpaid.