Monica, born and raised on the Outer Cape, lives with her husband and three children in Chatham. She hasn’t been able to work since 1999 when her son was born with muscular dystrophy, and she stayed home to care for him. Sadly, he passed away in 2011.
After she felt somewhat recovered from grief, she attempted to find work. She was not having luck and then got pregnant with their daughter. After she was born, she sought out work again, including enrolling in a course to become a CNA, a certified nursing assistant. But she found that the cost of daycare was so high she wouldn’t actually bring any money home. Her husband had a steady job with a landscaping and tree company but when the pandemic hit, he was laid off and had to go on unemployment. He took advantage of the time off and got his CDL—commercial driver’s license— license so is once again fully employed.
The family was lucky enough to secure a Habitat for Humanity home about ten years ago, so thankfully their mortgage has been small. However, they still got behind on bills, including the mortgage, during the time her husband was unemployed, and their income was cut in half. Lower Cape Outreach Council was there to help them catch up with their mortgage payments so they did not lose the house.
Monica has also battled three separate cancer diagnoses—breast, lung, and brain–that will keep her on chemotherapy for the foreseeable future, possibly forever, every three weeks. This time commitment, and any reaction, makes it difficult for her to commit to a job. She is looking for something that is part time so she can be home when her children get out of school and perhaps even work from home.
To add to their troubles, her car got ‘t-boned’ in August and she had to use her husband’s vehicle to get to her chemotherapy appointments. Everyone in the household who can be vaccinated has been. She is grateful that all have remained healthy from any COVID infections, and her PET scans and MRIs have been clear for her cancer.
“I can’t even put into words…I can’t thank Lower Cape Outreach Council enough for their help when my son passed away. And then I needed them again when my husband got laid off due to the pandemic,” Monica said. She added, “Lower Cape Outreach gives me, and many others, hope that when we really need help, they are there for us. We are so grateful, and I hope that I can give back to them someday, if not money then in some other way.”