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Finding Her Reason

OneWorld patient finds hope through hardships

Misty at her job at Build-A-Bear.

Misty at her job at Build-A-Bear.

Misty, 10+ year patient at OneWorld Community Health Centers, is no stranger to hardship. Originally from South Dakota, she moved to Omaha, Nebraska, when she was 18 on her own. A few years later, her mother passed away and Misty suffered a miscarriage.

“During that time, I was really depressed,” said Misty. “I went to OneWorld to get birth control, and during my appointment, I was referred to a counselor. They really helped me talk it out, and they never hesitated to ask me if I needed help. I felt so safe.”

Misty said OneWorld providers have helped her over the years, especially when the Covid-19 pandemic began.

“I got Covid-19 earlier on in the pandemic, and my employer at the time made it really hard to take time off of work,” said Misty. “Several OneWorld providers went up to bat for me. I didn’t think anyone would listen to me, but they did.”

For many years, Misty has worked 2-3 jobs at a time. She currently works nights at a hotel, and recently got a job at Build-A-Bear.

“When I see kids holding the bear they made, it makes the world a little bit better,” Misty said.

On September 6, 2021, Misty noticed she was incredibly light headed. She attributed the symptom to her new medication to treat her high blood pressure, and to the grief she felt from losing a family member to Covid-19 the previous day. Later that night, she coughed up a pink substance, but she thought she simply coughed too hard.

The next morning she began coughing up blood. Not knowing what to do or who to speak to, Misty went to the UNMC Emergency Room. After explaining her symptoms, the doctor tested Misty for Covid-19, which came back positive.

“He could have just sent me home, but he didn’t. He saw something else. If it wasn’t for him, I would never have known about my kidney cancer,” Misty said.

Misty was diagnosed with kidney cancer and Covid-19 days after her family member passed away from the virus. Her cancer was detected early enough for her to qualify for surgery to remove the tumor.

While she was recovering from Covid-19 and creating a treatment plan for her cancer, Misty moved to a new house because the property she lived in sold. Misty moved in mid-September using the money she had managed to save.

With the severity of her symptoms, she was unable to work for three weeks. Having used all of her savings, Misty did not have the funds to pay her bills and rent, so she applied for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program through the Metro Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless.

She spoke with her landlord, who she said was understanding at first. When Misty asked if she could make a partial payment, she received two eviction notices, and her world began to spiral.

“I received a 7-day notice and a 24-hour notice on the same day,” Misty said. “They also wanted me to pay in person at their office in Dayton, Ohio.”

Once again, Misty didn’t know what to do or who to speak to, so she called MACCH, who referred her to Legal Aid of Nebraska. Misty got a lawyer’s contact information, and soon after, Misty received the help she needed to stay in her house.

A few days later, Misty was at her second job when she received an email from MACCH asking for pay stub verification. After submitting her paystub, she received an email informing her she would be receiving an acceptance letter.

“I thought they had made a mistake,” Misty said. “But five minutes later, I got my acceptance letter with the amount I had been awarded and the timeline for disbursement. I just started crying. It was such a huge weight off of my shoulders.”

MACCH awarded Misty with enough funds to pay her rent from October 2021-January 2022.

“I’m now able to have tumor removal surgery in January. I can save up now to pay rent for February after my surgery. It will still be hard, but a lot of the burden has been lifted.”

After her surgery, Misty said she wants to go to the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in Albuquerque, New Mexico, something she and her mom had always wanted to do together.

“I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason,” said Misty. “I’ve lost my mother, I’ve lost a son, and I’ve lost an aunt. But my belief has gotten me through a lot, and I think my cancer is happening for a reason, too. Before, I was working non-stop, but now, I’m taking the time to appreciate everything more.”

Misty is currently working with the OneWorld social work team to ensure she is connected to community resources after her surgery.

At OneWorld, We Care for All People.

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