Stories: Anna’s cancer diagnosis and legal issues made her future seem hopeless

Through health care and advocacy, Anna was able to rebuild her life and begin working again.

Note: This story comes to us courtesy of Mauricio Calvo with Latino Memphis, part of United Way’s network of care. Names and images are changed to protect privacy.

Anna was a single mother of three children who came to America from Mexico. For 10 years she lived in the United States and had been working hard at a local factory to provide for her family, while trying to clear up some issues with immigration authorities. Then her health began to fail and she grew weaker and more sick, she suspected something was very wrong.

Soon, Anna’s rapidly declining health made working impossible. A medical diagnosis made her hopes for the future seem all the more grim – a diagnosis of Stage III pulmonary cancer.

“Anna had no health insurance and no income, but thankfully she had friends in our local Latino community who were assisting her with housing,” said an agency counselor.

Her friends referred her to a United Way partner agency, which in turn referred her to a community health center which could help her to receive some key health care. The partner agency also helped her find an immigration attorney willing to help without charging a fee – this paved the way for her to work with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services and get her legal status clarified.

The counselor added that thanks to Anna’s work with the attorney and the help of local programs, she is now a productive and legally residing member of the Memphis community.

“Our agency continues to serve as a resource and referral center for Anna,” the counselor said. “We ensure the necessary exchange of information between her care providers and government agencies, making sure her oncologist communicates Anna’s evolving health status directly to Immigration Services as necessary.”

Furthermore, the counselor confirmed that the facilitation of health care and advocacy on Anna’s behalf has enabled her to start working again, giving her greater hopes for her health and her plans for the future.

Your Support Impacts Lives“Anna’s outlook is improving – she is currently writing her life story on a donated computer we could no longer use,” the counselor said.

“Anna’s life is back on track,” the counselor said. “This is good news for Anna, her family, the Latino community and the greater Memphis community.”

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