Local mother struggles with health, paying bills
BY SHANNON MUCHMORE World Staff Writer
Sunday, December 02, 2012
12/02/12 at 4:06 PM
Donate to the Neediest Families Christmas Fund and read all the stories in the series.
Jesusleta Alvarez has had her share of medical troubles.
At 11, she was diagnosed with diabetes. Four years later, doctors discovered she had Hodgkin lymphoma. As an adult, she has developed renal failure and requires dialysis.
She has been in and out of the hospital and is unable to work, though she is now applying for some part-time jobs. It's hard to find a job she can take because she has to go home for dialysis every few hours and cannot stand for long periods of time.
Without an income, Alvarez is having trouble paying the bills and struggles to make a home for her 7- and 10-year-old daughters.
Their father, Alvarez's boyfriend, lives in Colorado.
She started dialysis about a year and a half ago. She went to a clinic three times a week for about four hours a session before getting a machine for at-home dialysis, which she does for 30 minutes, four times a day, every day.
"It just takes a lot of energy from me, and I just feel weak and sick," she said.
When she was first diagnosed, she was five months pregnant; she lost the baby due to complications.
The dialysis leaves her tired, and she sometimes has trouble doing household chores. By the time she begins to feel better, it's time for another treatment, she said.
She is completing the paperwork to be put on the transplant list. She has been told to expect to wait about five years for a transplant.
Medicaid and Medicare pay for most of her medical treatments, but utility and other bills are beginning to pile up. She also has to pay for somebody to care for her children when she is in the hospital.
Her oldest has had to take on some motherly tasks to help take care of her younger sister and has had to grow up quickly, Alvarez said.
"I'm just looking forward to getting better and getting on the transplant list so my kids can have their life back," she said.
As hard as life can seem at times, Alvarez knows everything could be worse. She can't just sit around and feel sorry for herself, she said.
"I count my blessings," she said. "You just have to pick yourself up and go on."
About the Neediest Families Fund Drive
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; $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 be anonymous.
Donations so far to the Neediest Families Fund Drive total $66,144
Contributions from Tulsans include: Virgil and Willie Hensley, $2,000; Alma J. Cheshewalla, $2,000; Tim M. Wilson, $2,000; John Bagwell, $1,000; Greg and Mary LaFevers, $1,000; Carole J. Tucker, $1,000; Hal and Rosalind Cook, $1,000; Prescor Inc., $750; Robert Soza, $500; Dr. James Randolph and Mrs. Suzette Birch, $500; John F. Hausam, $500; Bob and Debbie Craine, $500; Max and Laura Mantooth, $500; the Tulsa Drillers, $400; Roger and Marion Noldt, $250; Gene and Kathy Kaminsky, $250; W. R. Horkey, $250; the Estate of Alf Slaatten, $200; J. Tommy Randel, $200; Jan and Martha Hulsebos, $175; John and Jeanne Sturges, $150 in honor of Rex and Allene Donley and Jeff, Angela and Xander Sexton; Jack Morton and Karen Long, $150; Roxanna F. Chamberlin, $125; Sally and Gene Turner, $100; Emily L. Barry, $100; Arysetta Burkhart, $100; Margee and Scott Aycock, $100; Gene and Anna Curtis, $100; Ruth Ann Robb, $100; Dr. David L. Harper, $100; Brenda Dunn, $100; Mary L. Baird, $100; Jack Bobek, $100; David L. Abernathy, $100; Brandon Attaway, $100; Kay Duffy, $100; Randy Krehbiel, $100; Mr. and Mrs. William Conklin, $100; Ola Mae Lantow, $100; Chris and Susan Conn, $100; Alice Haight, $100; Charles Shipley, $100; Rhonda L. Thomas, $100; Pat Navel, $100; Deborah A. Jackson, $100; Don Siivola, $75; Joy of Living Bible Study Group, $60 in honor of Donna Beasley and Sandy Chambers; Doug Furgason, $50; Marjorie Cooper, $50; Mary Ferem, $50; Tom M. Campbell, $50; Barbara and Orville Blevins, $50; Conor, Caitlin and Dylan Cleary, $50 in honor of Howard and Virginia DelCour; Louise Rose, $40; Annie Shurtleff, $25; Molly Freeman, $25; Cindi Ullrich, $25; Edward Slier, $25; Otto Cantrell, $25; Ellen Cantrell, $25; Betty Weaver, $20; Jane Livingston, $20; Douglas Click, $20; Frank and Rosemary Lauinger, $25; Mr. and Mrs. Coulter L. Woodward, $25; Christine Gruszeczki, $25; Joan Montgomery, $15; Oliver Youngstrom, $10.
Contributions from outside Tulsa: SM Energy, Denver, $6,000; Loaf Community Appliance Service, LLC, Broken Arrow, $1,000; Bruce and Judy Ricks, Sapulpa, $400; David and Joy Ensminger, Sand Springs, $300; M.C. Manes, Sand Springs, $200; Gene and Janice Boerner, Bixby, $200; Jim and Betty Hargrove, Bixby, $100; Steve Meador, Owasso, $100; Sam and Lou Ann Avant, Skiatook, $100; Garrett Huxall, Broken Arrow, $100; Frances Fugate, Claremore, $100; Don and Bettie Duerksen, Afton, $75; Lewis and Jean Harris, $50; Steven Tyler Avila, Broken Arrow, $50 in memory of Grandma and Uncle Jesse Avila; Jim McKee, Sand Springs, $50; Don and Jane Owen, Owasso, $50.
Anonymous donations: $39,034, including a single donation in the amount of $25,000. Also, $200 in loving memory of Evalyn and Atlee Sawyer; $5 cash.
Original Print Headline: For health and home
Shannon Muchmore 918-581-8378
Jesusleta Alvarez's health keeps her from work and she struggles to make a home for her two daughters, Gabrielle Harris (left), 7, and Jadyn Harris, 10. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World