In each of our newsletters, we profile a family that has benefited from Angel Foundation services. This month, we are profiling the Collins family:

Alison Collins received the news that she had stage 4 breast cancer (HER2-positive) that had spread to her hip and spine in June of 2007, after months of misdiagnoses and failed attempts at treatment. Almost a year later, after ending a final round of chemo, the same doctor, in the same hospital, would shock them a second time with the news that her husband Ron, too, now had cancer. Ron’s cancer was even more severe: stage 4 liver, lung and bone cancer.

Over the past year, the Collins have attended a number of Angel Foundation events with their sons, Austin, 5, and Dylan, 7. Alison begins tearing up when she talks about the impact cancer has had on her two sons, who were 3 and 5 when her treatments first began, “They both know a lot about cancer. Both Ron and I let the kids know what is going on… I know this is going to be a very hard year for both of them.”

Read the rest of the Collins’ story…

After her initial diagnosis, Alison says that she was very grateful for the help her friends and family provided as she went through spinal surgery, hospital stays, radiation, and chemotherapy. Without her added help and income, Ron was working 16 hour days at their business, while friends and family looked after the kids. After Ron’s diagnosis, they were forced to sell the business, and both are now at home receiving Social Security Disability Insurance. Ron’s treatments did not go quite as well as Alison’s he has recently elected to end the life-extending chemo treatments in favor of in-home hospice care.

When it comes to their children, Alison and Ron are doing the best they can: “I am slower at everything, but I am getting used to this and so are my kids,” Alison reports, “I have good days and days that I am just tired! Ron, on the other hand, is always pushing himself for the kids, he wants to be able to play ball, to hunt and to fish with them”. The family talks a lot about the cancer diagnoses they know the importance of honest, accurate, and age-appropriate discussion. Both boys ask lots of questions, and they understand that their dad is going to die.

Alison acknowledges that Angel Foundation has meant a lot to their family, not only for the events where both Austin and Dylan were incredibly excited to meet other kids whose parents had cancer but also for the emotional support.”For a long time I thought I was really alone,” Alison writes, “and it is wonderful to know that the Angel Foundation is out there and will be out there to help my kids.”