More MS news articles for Jan 2002

Medical problems, ailing parents drain family funds

December 21st, 2001
By CYNTHIA GOMEZ, Standard-Times staff writer

NEW BEDFORD -- It's tough enough raising five young children. It's even tougher when your body doesn't work the way it used to.
Since Rachael (not her real name) became pregnant with her last child almost three years ago, she has developed a condition doctors believe is multiple sclerosis.

Rachael is often overly tired, her body goes numb, and she gets severe headaches and vertigo. The condition, which affects every aspect of her life, has prevented her from working.
"I used to love working," she said. "I was a finance manager, and it was such a cool job. I was someone important for once."
Although her husband's paycheck covers the basic bills, they have had little money left over for the extras most families take for granted since she became sick.
But recently, things have gotten worse.
"We would be fine, except the engine blew on my car, and we had to spend a fortune to get it fixed in October," she explained. "We also had to go to Texas a few months earlier, because my husband's parents were both in the hospital and doctors didn't think they would make it out alive."
Her husband, John, will likely have to return to Texas soon. His mother needs a kidney transplant, and he may be the only match in their family. But the money for the trip, or anything else, is nowhere to be found.
"We can't even come up with the money to pay our bills anymore," Rachael said. "Our phone was supposed to be shut off last week, but I called and told them to put me on a payment plan, and I'm so afraid my gas and electric will be shut off soon."
All of her children, ages 2, 9, 10, 12, and 13, are badly in need of winter clothing. Ten-year-old Brandon and 13-year-old Amy are hoping for a Game Boy. But as Christmas Day draws nearer, Rachael doesn't know how she'll be able to get her children anything.
"I just can't do it anymore," she said. "Every time I think of our situation, I get so depressed. I want my kids to have a Christmas."
Like many other needy families in the area, Rachael is hoping that the Salvation Army can help make this Christmas a bit brighter for her family.
Your donations to the Neediest Families Fund will go to help families like hers during the holidays.
The goal of this year's campaign is $110,000, and to date, $84,751.84 has been raised.
Contributions can be dropped off at or mailed to The Standard-Times, 25 Elm St., New Bedford, MA 02740, and can be made in memory of a loved one or special friend. All donations will be acknowledged in print.