“Erin, a single mother of three-year-old Fitzgerald — lovingly called Fitz— was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in spring 2020. She cried and then got to work. For Erin, that included surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and hospital stays, all while caring for Fitz, working full-time, and living through the pandemic.”
After months of grueling treatment, she was in remission.
She dreamed of a future with her little boy once again, until she began experiencing back pain that revealed a gut-wrenching recurrence — full-blown metastases in her spine and liver. Stage four.
Her doctor didn’t offer more treatment. Instead, end-of-life care at 38.
When Erin’s colleagues, Lee, Righton, and Pamela, heard the news, they refused it outright: “Not on our watch.”
They formed Erin’s Army, a collective of family, friends, colleagues and more who have banded together to fight fiercely for Erin and Fitz. They pooled resources for a consultation with a preeminent specialist, Dr. Salem, whose tailor-made care includes a promising new immunotherapy. A parent to a daughter Erin’s same age, Dr. Salem understood how heavy it all was: “Fitz can’t be without his mom.”
The problem was that the cost of the treatment was exorbitant — and it had to be paid up front out of pocket.
Erin needed to start the treatment as soon as possible to maximize its effects, so Erin’s Army immediately began raising funds. In just a few short weeks, they did everything humanly possible, even draining their own bank accounts.
The Friday before Erin was to start treatment arrived — and they had only raised a third of the funds needed.
Having exhausted every other option, Lee turned to Together Rising, asking us to join the incredible community of people, many of whom are moms just like Erin and many of us, who were rallying around Erin: “As mothers, we know that Fitz can’t lose his mama simply because she didn’t have enough money to pay for treatment. That can’t be the world we live in. We will not let it be so.”
We refuse to live in the kind of world where babies lose their mamas because they can’t afford treatment, too. Deeply moved by the way so many have shown up for Erin, first her mom and sisters, then Lee, Pamela and Righton, and then an entire army of supporters, we knew you’d want to show up for her, too.
Through Together Rising, you delivered the critical funds needed to cover the entire first round of her treatment. Because of you, she received her first infusion on Monday — and her and Fitz’s world has been forever changed.
When we band together to take care of each other, we create the world we want to live in. When others see that new kind of world, they want to join in, too. We are overjoyed to share that the way all of us have rallied around Erin has inspired other supporters to send their love and financial assistance. Together, all of us collectively have now covered the cost of both rounds of her treatment, temporary housing and even flights for little Fitz to visit his mama.
As Erin faces the most difficult time in her life, she no longer has to worry about the financial aspects of her treatment — and has an unstoppable community of friends, family, colleagues, moms, supporters and now us, cheering her on.
When we don’t know what the future holds, we just do the next right thing. Stepping into this gap for this mama, her little one, and her incredible champions was the next right thing — and all of you, this amazing, always-showing-up community, made it happen. THANK YOU.