There was the chemo and the radiation, the surgery and bouts of debilitating exhaustion, but Lisa Hart never gave up.
She thought she was too young to get breast cancer. She was barely 50, an active and energetic organic gardener who spent her days outside, constantly on the move and in the fresh Ulster County air.
"I felt so good and healthy," she says. "And I got cancer."
But illness has no regard for birthdays, and her disease was aggressive. She and her doctors went to war against it, with drugs and treatment equally ruthless against the tumor.
Cancer, though, can attack on an entirely different front, and while Lisa was winning her battle against the disease, she began to lose her foothold on her finances. Her medical bills were covered, and friends and family were a great help, but working was out of the question, and her savings were soon depleted.
"I could just about handle the regular expenses, the electric bill and the food and those sorts of things," she says. "But anything else was just too much, and when the property tax bill came I just didn't know how I was going to pay it."
She turned to the People for People Fund on the advice of a friend, and soon volunteers were helping her apply for emergency assistance.
"Only half the bill needed to be paid immediately, and I was hopeful that I'd be back working again before the rest was due," she says.
People for People paid half the tax bill on her Shokan home, freeing Lisa to focus on getting healthy.
"I am so incredibly grateful for their help," says Lisa, who now does public speaking and outreach about breast cancer. She slowly returned to her work, adding hours as her strength, bit by bit, returned, and her years in gardens have helped teach her patience. Says Lisa, "I will no doubt recover."
Since its first campaign in 1985,
the Times Herald-Record's
People for People Fund has
distributed over $4.4 million
through the year of 2014