CFIDSERS is the emergency relief services that may be the only option for PWCs faced with a financial dilemma due to their illness. It is a non-profit venture that was started by Dr. Elaine Katz, a PWC. It's the last resort for some PWCs. The few examples that are given here have had the names and locales changed to protect the identity of the patient.
Sandi's husband never did believe that his wife had anything really wrong with her. She was lazy, that's all. Everyone knew, as far as he was concerned, that there was no such thing as CFIDS. He only had a part-time job, but he would constantly steal his wife's disability check and spend it drinking at the local bar. He wouldn't allow his wife to drive and usually refused to drive her to doctor's appointments. Sandi had developed heart problems from her CFIDS and needed so much medication, but she often didn't have the money to purchase it because her disability checks went to her husband. And then the abuse started. After two years of periodic physical abuse, her doctor urged her to get a restraining order, file for divorce, and get out of her marraige. But where would she go? Her mother would take her in, but she lived hundreds of miles away, and she had no money for the bus. Who would help?
Jim, Jr. was seven years old when he was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. By the time he was nine, he was diagnosed with CFIDS. He lived in a small subsidized apartment with his sister, Angie. Jim, Sr. had died in a freak accident when Jim, Jr. was only five. When his mom worked, Angie would take care of Jim, Jr. Angie was three years older. A crises arose when they found out that Jim, Jr, now 10 years old, unable to attend school, and bedbound for most of the day, needed an operation. The HMO would only pay half the cost. His mom already scrimped on everything. Who would help?
Maryann was luckier than most PWCs. Although she had been disabled from CFIDS for many years, her marriage was intact, her children grown, and her husband was supportive. But she, too, found she needed an operation. A tumor had to come out. The bills were mostly covered, but she found that she would be totally incapacitated for a couple of weeks after her surgery. If her husband had to care for her, he'd have to take an unpaid personal leave and they couldn't afford that. Luckily, her sister, far weathier than her, but who lived quite far away and had her own life full, said she would pay for a private aide to help her. But only if she could get the money taken off as a tax deduction so it would help with her taxes. Who would help?
The answer to all these true scenarios are all the same. Who would help? CFIDSERS. But only if they had enough funding for their one-time emergency help. Sandi got her bus fare along with enough money to travel with two weeks worth of her medication and a warmer coat since she was traveling to a colder climate. Jim, Jr. had his operation and it went well. He's now a responder to florinef and finds he can attend school for half days. He's never been so happy. The freckles on his face seem more prominent now that he feels like smiling more. And Maryann had her sister donate money to CFIDSERS. Before that even happened, though, she had her help. She found her recovery took a bit longer but her husband took a few days of personal leave. He agreed he'd work on Christmas without time and a half so he won't lose any wages.
All money donated to The National CFIDS Foundation earmarked for CFIDSERS will go to help another PWC in trouble. We hope you won't have to ever use their services. However, if you do, we hope they'll have enough funding to be able to lend you a hand. It will make the road you travel with CFIDS a little less bumpy.
The National CFIDS Foundation * 103 Aletha Rd, Needham Ma 02492 * (781) 449-3535 Fax (781) 449-8606