09 Oct Komen San Diego and Community Rally Behind Lily
Lily Grill has lived in San Diego County almost her entire life. She currently resides in Campo and works as a cook and manager in a kitchen. She has four children and makes an hourly wage and doesn’t have the luxury of paid-time-off.
“I’m that person who never takes a sick day because I can’t afford to miss a single day of work and lose income,” said Lily.
In March 2018, Lily went in for her routine mammogram.
“I knew something was up when my doctor insisted I drive all the way back to her office in Grossmont the next day.”
Lily was diagnosed with breast cancer and was required to start treatment immediately.
“I was scared, but I think I was more consumed with the fear of missing work and not being able to pay my bills.”
Lily would have to drive 90 miles roundtrip to get to one appointment. After her surgeries, Lily’s treatment plan required her to have SAVI radiation twice a day and rest in-between.
“I’m not supposed to answer my phone at work, but I was getting tons of calls from my medical team; I was very stressed trying to figure out how I was going to manage two treatments a day and drive back and forth.”
One of Lily’s customers, Candy, overheard her and later approached Lily and said the ladies of the community pitched in and raised over $700 to pay for five nights at a hotel so that she didn’t have to drive back and forth.
“I wouldn’t have made it without their support. I went to the hotel room right after each session, completely wiped out and fell right to sleep until it was time to go back,” said Lily. “I’m so grateful.”
When one of the community members, Karen has been asked why she did all of that for Lily, she responds cleverly, “Have you ever had her pizza?”
Like so many women with breast cancer, Lily was still faced with the difficult choice of missing work and losing income to survive, or keep working and forego treatment. Lily chose to fight for her life, which resulted in not being able to pay her mortgage. Susan G. Komen San Diego stepped in with financial assistance so she wouldn’t lose her home and provided gas cards, so she could concentrate on getting better instead of worrying about her finances.
The Komen San Diego Financial Assistance Fund provides financial aid for a breast cancer patients’ most critical needs during treatment. Komen San Diego also funds care coordination specialists who develop a care plan for patients to help decrease barriers and provide linkage to support services. Komen San Diego’s funded-care coordinators consistently met with Lily and were able to empathetically listen to her concerns and connect her to additional resources to ensure she continued her medical care.
Lily was able to overcome many barriers that could have prevented her from following through with her prescribed care plan. Komen San Diego’s support gave Lily access to the services she needed and ensured she took every necessary step throughout her treatment.