Neediest Families Christmas Fund: Despite medical and financial woes, mother on track for career
BY SHANNON MUCHMORE World Staff Writer
Thursday, December 06, 2012
12/06/12 at 8:29 AM
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Michelle Armstrong graduates this week from a yearlong medical assistant training program, despite some setbacks that have made the effort difficult.
Since experiencing some gaps in receiving unemployment payments, she has been struggling to pay the bills, including anti-seizure medication that costs nearly $500 a month. Without it, she could end up in the emergency room, as she did in June.
She was in the ICU for three days and in a regular bed at the hospital for another 2 1/2 days.
She doesn't have health insurance, and she can't get any because her seizure disorder is considered a pre-existing condition.
In January, she mildly fractured her vertebrae and got a bulging disc after a hit-and-run involving a drunk driver. The two children who live at home with her were in the car.
Car insurance paid for some treatment, but she had to cancel her last four doctor's appointments when the limit was reached.
In between her education and taking her sons Daylin Mayes, 8, and Trey Mayes, 6, to school and sports practices, she volunteers because she likes to give back to the community, she said.
She has volunteered to perform health check-ups and give flu shots and also coaches a T-ball team.
"I'm a people person, and I really know no stranger," she said. "If I'm in a safe environment, I can talk to anyone."
Armstrong has a job lined up at a doctor's office but needs some financial help until the income becomes steady. She will also have the new expense of after-school child care.
She has survived so far on payment arrangements and finds it difficult to save up money.
"Any time you try to save, a medical situation comes up and I have to spend it on something like that," she said.
Whenever she thinks she's in a bad situation, she stops to realize there's always someone who has it worse, she said.
Armstrong wants to focus on making sure her children have the best education and best opportunities possible, she said.
"They definitely give me the drive to keep going," she said.
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 1770, Tulsa, OK 74102.
Donations are tax-deductible, and donors can be anonymous.
Original Print Headline: Mom refuses to let medical issues derail plans
Shannon Muchmore 918-581-8378
Trey Mayes (left), Michelle Armstrong and Daylin Mayes are among Tulsa's Neediest Families. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World