30 Days A little girl fights cancer. Her family copes
(MONEY Magazine) – Addison Vogl
AGE 13 months HOMETOWN Portsmouth, R.I. WHAT SHE DID Survived. Weighing only 1.7 pounds at birth, she's had surgeries and chemo to treat a rare liver cancer. Parents Mike and Stacey, 33 and 34, face fear and medical bills. Brother Taylor, 12, hangs tough.
CHOICES. We just learned that the chemo will probably make Addison deaf. Without it, there is much less chance of a cure. Many tears shed today.
A HARD ROUND. It is awful to watch the poison drip into her tiny body. She is so sick. Thank God for Hasbro Children's Hospital; they are family to us.
MONTHLY COBRA PAYMENT: $1,000. Ouch.
SHE COMES HOME. Addie has eyelashes again! Sleeping in her own bed! (Parents sleep on the floor, changing her feeding bag every four hours.)
TRADED IN OUR BEAT-UP CAR for a minivan so we can put Addie's feeding pump and I.V. stand in with her. We got a great deal. How to pay for it?
RUSHED TO THE E.R. Addie rolled over and pulled out her stomach feeding tube. Very painful for her.
COMMUNITY FUND RAISER. Thank you! Pictures of Addie everywhere, fantastic volunteers. It gave us the strength to carry on. Total raised: $7,900.
TAYLOR ASKS, Would you sell me to pay the medical bills? Stacey says, No! Do you want to be sold? Taylor says, Sometimes. She gets all the attention.
ALPHA FETAL PROTEIN IS ELEVATED. It meant cancer last time, might be normal liver growth now. Is it a red flag or a green flag? We won't know for a while.
IT AIN'T NORMAN ROCKWELL, BUT WE'LL TAKE IT. The sweet mundane: Stacey cooks a meal, Mike fixes the lawn mower, Taylor has a track meet, Addie learns to sit up, the family goes for gelato--twice.
ELIGIBLE FOR A PART-TIME NURSE. Grandma gets a break. Stacey takes a shower of a normal length; she'll work one day a week to pay for the minivan.
INSURANCE! Addie had surgery at Johns Hopkins, which doesn't take out-of-state Medicaid (offered to premature infants). With help from our state's attorney general, her liver transplant surgery was approved. Good news: At the operating table we learned her tumor had shrunk so much, it was operable. Bad news: Now bills are pouring in. Different procedure. Can we get this covered?
MIRACLE: She's not deaf! With hearing aids she'll be able to hear and speak normally. Relief. Joy.
NOW: She has two teeth, weighs 15.1 pounds and has just learned to wave bye-bye. Hopefully, to cancer. --AS TOLD TO ELLEN McGIRT