Neediest Families Fund Drive: Mother's cancer limits family's resources
BY SHANNON MUCHMORE World Staff Writer
Sunday, November 25, 2012
11/25/12 at 8:45 AM
Rechonda Lee is getting tired of always telling her children no.
No, they can't travel. No, they can't go buy toys. No, there won't be any presents from Mom under the Christmas tree.
Lee can hardly pay her utility bills because the income isn't coming in anymore.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer in May, she has been unable to work. She has had a job since she was 15, so it is unusual territory for her.
Family and charities have helped some, but she is running out of resources.
"I've had to cut back on everything," she said.
Her two sons, Abel, 7, and Mekhi, 9, get trips to the park or the library when Lee can afford the gas. Both of their fathers are incarcerated.
Lee also has an 18-year-old daughter who is attending Langston University.
Lee finished chemotherapy in October and had a lumpectomy about a week and a half ago. It went well. She will now start radiation.
The chemotherapy left her tired and in pain. She also lost her hair.
She wasn't able to do much of anything and had to rely on family to help take care of the children.
Lee's sister helps frequently. Lee just moved into the same apartment complex as her sister to make things easier.
She gets help on her medical bills through Tulsa Project Woman, which assists those with limited income and no health insurance who have breast cancer.
"Without that, I don't know if I could have made it," she said.
She doesn't know when she'll be able to get back to work, but it probably won't be anytime soon.
She used to drive for the Lift Program in Tulsa. Before that she was a habilitation training specialist and worked with the developmentally disabled.
She's disappointed that she won't be able to buy any Christmas presents this year.
"We have a nice tree from last year," she said. "We can decorate it, but that's about it."
Fund Drive history
The Neediest Families Fund Drive was established in 1928 to provide assistance to families in need during the holidays and for the coming year.
This year's goal is to raise $300,000 by Christmas Eve. Last year's goal was exceeded when $334,888 was raised.
Each Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday through the holiday season, the Tulsa World will spotlight families chosen by the Salvation Army to receive help through this year's fund.
None of the money raised is used for administrative costs. Cash is not given directly to the families. They are given vouchers for specific needs.
To help families such as the one featured today, send a check or money order to the Neediest Families Fund Drive, in care of the Tulsa World, P.O. Box 21920, Tulsa, OK, 74121-1920.
Donations are tax-deductible and donors can remain anonymous.
Make a donation today
Donate to the Neediest Families Christmas Fund and read all the stories in the series.
Original Print Headline: Medical woes limit family's resources
Shannon Muchmore 918-581-8378
Rechonda Lee has struggled to support her sons Abel Ladd (left), 7, and Mekhi Samuel, 9, since she was diagnosed with cancer in May. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World