After her diagnosis of breast cancer in 2017, Melissa Taylor quickly realized the financial burden of this disease. “You never think to budget for cancer.” Her rare and rapidly growing cancer required frequent, aggressive treatments, so she had to take time off from work. A 23-year veteran of the floor covering industry, Melissa has worked the past 13 years in claims and customer communications at a manufacturing facility. She said she did not want to turn to her sons for financial help. “Parents are not supposed to rely on their kids. It should be the other way around. You want your kids to depend on you.” After a year of rigorous treatments and doctor visits, Melissa is now in remission. She has returned to work and learned not to take life for granted. “This grant saved my home, lowered my stress level, and gave me peace of mind. I stopped worrying so much about medical bills. My grandkids, God, and the Floor Covering Industry Foundation gave me the strength to push through this difficult time.”
Meet The Torabyan Family
Ararat Torabyan and his wife immigrated to the United States in the early 1990s when an earthquake destroyed their home in Armenia. They were able to rebuild their lives in California and started planning for a large family. Ararat spent the last 20 years building a career in the floor covering industry. The past sixteen years he has been self-employed as an installer, removing and installing hardwood and laminate flooring. “Our life was good. We had just bought our own home and had our second baby. Then I got sick.” Ararat was diagnosed with leukemia in 2009.
The hardest part was learning that he and his wife couldn’t have more children after his transplant. In 2015, Ararat faced another devastating diagnosis, oral cancer. But perhaps the most difficult news came later that year when his 13-year-old daughter, Anabell, was diagnosed with leukemia. With medical bills pouring in, Ararat was under a lot of financial stress, afraid he wouldn’t be able to take care of his family. “I kept getting calls from creditors. I felt like a failure. I was supposed to take care of my family.” He was behind on his mortgage and worried he would lose his house, but thanks to the Floor Covering Industry Foundation, that did not happen. “When I got my grant, I was emotional. I felt a huge weight off my chest. I felt secure. I knew I had our home for my family.”
Pictured is Ararat Torabyan, a flooring installer from California, and his family while traveling to Greece. The trip to Greece was their daughter Anabell's Make a Wish grant due to her love for Greek mythology. The Floor Covering Industry Foundation helped the family be able to keep their home while Aararat Torabyan recovered from leukemia and oral cancer and his daughter, Anabell fought leukemia.
Meet Steve and Jane (hear their story here.)
Pamela Jane Love was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer in May 2017, and since then her life has changed drastically. A 30-year veteran of the floor covering industry, Mrs. Love worked the last 13 years at Mohawk Industries. Before she was diagnosed with cancer, she had plans to retire in a couple years. She and her husband, Steve, now have mounds of medical bills and they weren’t sure they would be able to make it financially. Soon after she was diagnosed with brain cancer, Steve broke his leg and they struggled even more. With both out of work, life has been difficult. Steve shared, “Everyone kept telling me I should get help, but I thought we could handle it on our own. After spending all our savings on medical bills, we were drained. Luckily, we were connected to the Floor Covering Industry Foundation and were awarded a grant to help with medical care and housing expenses. I couldn’t believe something like that existed, and we are extremely grateful for it”. Because of the Floor Covering Foundation, the Loves can enjoy the time they have together.
Meet J.W. and Brenda
“My biggest fear is getting behind on our mortgage and losing our home.” Not the kind of worry that anyone wants to face, especially while battling cancer.
Meet J.W. and his wife, Brenda. J.W. is fighting the hardest battle of his life. While still working 3rd shift as a tufting machine mechanic in Georgia, J.W. is receiving chemo treatments for stage 4 small cell lung cancer. He has worked in the floor covering industry for 15 years and is still going strong. His wife shared that the expenses from traveling several days a week for treatments, prescriptions, and medical bills has caused them to live day to day financially.
“Even with health insurance, the cost of J.W.’s treatment under the care of six different doctors is more than we can afford. Thankfully, the Floor Covering Industry Foundation is here to help. The grant we received has reduced our financial stress and provided hope that we can make it through this obstacle. I don’t know where would be without this assistance, quite possibly homeless.”
For the past seven years, she worked in a recycling facility that turned plastic bottles into carpet fiber. At the age of 52, she was not expecting to be planning chemotherapy treatments and then looking at 33 days of radiation therapy. Struggling to make ends while she was out of work for treatments, she wondered how she would survive financially. Even with health insurance and short-term disability insurance, she could not cover the costs of housing, food, and medical bills. Teresa has reduced stress of a financial burden lifted and a team of supporters cheering for her! Thanks to the Floor Covering Industry, her battle with breast cancer is a little easier.