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When cancer treatments bust the budget in the Finger Lakes

Sarah Harling, 26 years old, just starting a new job in a field she is passionate about, and enjoying the freedom of a new young professional, should be a person others envy. Younger people look at her example to emulate, and older people recall that energy and joy with great nostalgia.

But Sarah was just diagnosed in January with grade 3 Invasive Mammary Carcinoma – and now that envy has become a horrified sympathy.

With no family history of cancer, it was only by her self-examination that Sarah discovered the lump in her breast. That discovery has now created a new reality for Sarah to face; 16 weeks of chemotherapy in 2-week increments at the Elizabeth Wende Breast Center in Rochester, and the devastating out of pocket costs that the treatment will incur.

“I recently accepted a promotion at a nonprofit organization called Epilepsy Pralid as a Fiscal Intermediary,” says Sarah. “Because I was so recently employed by this organization, I do not yet qualify for Family and Medical Leave Act benefits.” As a first time insurance buyer and previously healthy individual, Sarah has an exceptionally high deductible: $6,500 in network and $13,000 out of network. And that $20,500 is only for the treatments.

Sarah started chemotherapy Friday, Feb. 7 and will continue the 16-week regimen, along with several other expensive cancer related medications. After finishing chemotherapy, she will undergoing surgeries for lumpectomy and and lymphadenectomy, and then faces radiation therapy.

Sarah is a 2010 graduate of Penn Yan Academy, and her mother, Patti Harling, has been a language teacher at Penn Yan for the last 21 years. It is upon this wide and caring network of friends in the community they now appeal to for help.

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