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After Kerina endured years of excruciating symptoms, twenty emergency room visits, and a life-altering surgery complication, you helped her and her partner Ben stay in their home—the “one respite” they’d counted on throughout such a difficult time.

Before she got sick, Kerina was in the middle of fertility treatments to have a baby. She and Ben were planning to get engaged. She was working full-time and volunteering teaching yoga at a rehabilitation center.

Image description: The photo shows Ben and Kerina smiling and standing together in front of a house. Kerina is wearing a bright purple and pink scarf.

All of that came to a halt when doctors discovered a tumor in her brain.

Thankfully, the tumor was deemed non-cancerous. It seemed that a simple medication would treat it.

However, as soon as Kerina started the new medicine, her temples throbbed with a migraine so painful that she had to be rushed to the ER. Once there, the migraine did not respond to treatment, leaving Kerina in agony.

Note: The next paragraph mentions suicide.

Agonizing months followed in which Kerina’s doctors couldn’t find the cause of her migraines. By this point, she could no longer get off the couch. She couldn’t walk. She couldn’t ride in a car—it hurt too much. She relied on Ben and her mother to take care of her. She experienced depression with suicidal ideation.

Image description: The photo shows Kerina laying on a bright red couch in front of a window. A fluffy dog is laying to the right of her.

Eventually, Kerina was diagnosed with what is considered to be one of the most painful types of migraines, which does not respond to standard treatment.

As a last resort, she had surgery to remove the tumor. While her migraines improved, the surgery caused brain damage that severely impacted her vision. Kerina can’t read, watch TV, or look at a computer screen for a long period of time, an essential requirement of her prior job.

In addition to Kerina losing her ability to work, Ben was laid off during the pandemic. With their emergency savings depleted, they were at serious risk of losing their home.

“We are in a desperate situation and I’m not sure where else to turn to help us be able to afford to stay in our home,” wrote Kerina.

Together Rising exists to be a place to turn. We covered two months of rent for Kerina and Ben—enough to keep them in their home until Ben started his new job. 

For the first time in a long time, they are breathing a sigh of relief.