After surviving Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma eight years ago, Jeannette Foy of Port Jefferson Station, mother of four, died of adenocarcinoma of the lung on Sept. 23.
Jeannette continued to get regular positron emission tomography (PET) scans for years to ensure that her cancer didn't return. When her husband, Patrick, lost his job in the auto industry the family was left without insurance. Jeanette had to forgo her annual PET scans for two years while her husband struggled to find work.
"When you can't pay your mortgage you can't afford the scans," said close friend, Rachael Ringold.
Soon, Jeanette sensed that something was wrong. That was when doctors found that she had developed lung cancer. Patrick found a job while his wife was in the hospital but they suffered financially because of the steep medical bills, according to Ringold.
Ringold knew how bad the financial strain was on the family so she helped to organize a fundraiser at on Main Street in Port Jefferson. They had eight weeks to put together the event and with help from her friends and family they pulled it off.
Unfortunately Jeannette died three days before the event took place. Despite the great loss, the organizers pressed on with the fundraiser. Over 400 people showed up that night and they ultimately raised $30,000 for Jeanette's family.
"We felt her there in spirit," Ringold said.
A few weeks before she died, Jeanette had come down with pneumonia and spent three months in and out of while still weak from chemotherapy, adding to the pain. The Foys faced difficult choices in healthcare, choices that confront many uninsured Americans and inflamed a national debate last year.
"No one should have to worry if they will be able to pay their mortgage or put food on the table in lieu of paying for medical care," said Ringold.
On Friday, Dec. 10 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. there will be another fundraiser for the family of Jeanette Foy. For $10 you can enjoy wine and cheese at at 309 Patchogue Road in Port Jefferson Station. According to the invitation, 100 percent of the admission goes to the Foy Family. For more information please call (631) 473-2236. Checks should be made payable to St. Paul's Lutheran Church.