CHARLOTTE - One year ago, Charmaine Tyson had been laid off, and did not have health insurance. She noticed a change in her breasts, and borrowed money from relatives to pay cash for a mammogram. Tyson was immediately diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.
“My whole world changed right before my eyes,” said Tyson. “I didn’t know what to do, I was in shock.”
Doctor Nicole Abinanti says more patients are struggling to afford health care, especially for cancer treatments that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Some patients receive help from funds provided through the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Those funds help cover the gap for women without insurance.
“We are able to help these women, getting them into the right programs,” said Abinanti. “Steer through the system to pay for the initial workup, getting them to the right organizations to pay for their treatment.”
Tyson says Avon funds helped cover her prescriptions, chemotherapy, hospitalization, and mastectomy. She was only responsible for a $3 co-pay.
“The program did save my life, it saved my life,” Tyson said. “I don’t think I would be here.”
Now she urges women not to delay medical care.
“Don’t be afraid that they don’t have any money or health insurance, all they need to do is talk up and speak out,” said Tyson.
Last year’s Avon Walk raised $1.65 million in Charlotte. Tyson will participate in this year’s walk in October, and you can too. Walkers are joining teams now and there is an event Saturday if you’d like to learn more.
For more information on how you can get involved in the Avon Walk click here.