MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Assistance in Health Care group helps cancer patients pay their bills
6:00 PM, Sep 13, 2013
11:52 AM, Dec 16, 2013
TULSA - Beating cancer requires more than a determined spirit.
It also requires a lot of cash, and one local group is making a difference, by easing that financial burden.
For Bonnie Briley, it seems like a lifetime ago. She was happy, spending time with her family and working at her salon in Colorado.
That was in 2007, before her cancer returned for a third time.
"I was flabbergasted," said Bonnie. "It was just like that."
It was again in her kidney, after losing her other kidney to cancer in 2000.
This time, doctors gave her only three months to live.
"I got out to the parking lot and I lost it and I thought well I won't be here for Christmas," said Bonnie.
But six years later, she's still here.
She's now living in Tulsa and getting treatment at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
"I can't go back to Colorado because of the finances so I end up staying here when I'd rather be at home," said Bonnie, holding back the tears.
With medical bills piling up, Bonnie needed help.
She found it at Assistance in Health Care, a non-profit group that provides financial assistance to any cancer patient that asks for it.
"I love what I do," said Melanie Collins, Executive Director of Assistance in Health Care. "I love being able to talk with the patients that we're helping and to hear their stories and to share their stories."
Stories like Bonnie's.
"It's just like they fell out of the sky to help me. I don't know what I would do without them," said Bonnie.
With her cancer fight not over yet, Bonnie relies on Assistance in Health Care to help her buy everything, from groceries to plane tickets home.
"I don't feel like I'm alone when I have them," said Bonnie.
They're making a difference, helping Bonnie believe her story will have a happy ending.
Assistance in Health Care is funded entirely through donations.
On average, they give each of their clients about $300 a month.