A s I look back, I never thought I would make a difference in so many peoples lives. It all started with me going through four cancer surgeries. Having two breast cancer and two lung cancer plus add on a pacemaker. There were times when my doctors didn’t think I was going to make it and neither did I. By the grace of God and the fantastic team of doctors I have, I wouldn’t be here writing this. In fact, I was called their miracle patient.

When it was announced that UPMC (our big hospital monopoly) was going to drop our HighMark Insurance, I was furious! I needed to stay with these doctors and hospital that treated me. Here I am thinking, what can one person do? So many elderly and cancer patients would have to go elsewhere for medical help. Including out of state. I said we got to have our voices heard. So, I started off writing letters to the editor in newspapers, writing letters to the PA Attorney General and several other PA politicians. I was contacted by the Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN) when they found out what I was trying to do. PHAN was instrumental in helping me fight my cause. I attended and spoke at rallies. I did so many things I did that I never thought I could do – but I did. I was on TV, radio and in the newspapers. Went and spoke at the UPMC Board meeting (which, they didn’t want us to do). I went to our Capitol in Harrisburg and spoke before some Legislators. To make a long story short, we won our battle against UPMC. I was not only fighting for myself but for the hundreds of thousands cancer patients who couldn’t. Remember, don’t think because you are only one person there is nothing you can do. No matter what the income is, as long as you are trying your very best you are a winner. At least you didn’t just sit back and do nothing.

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