My name is Maximiliana and I am a student at the University of Rochester majoring in philosophy and minoring in Brain & Cognitive Science (3.93 GPA) while living at home. My family would be able to help with my tuition and resources if they did not have exorbitant medical bills. My mother suffers from several extremely debilitating autoimmune disorders (including multiple sclerosis and systemic autoimmune disease) and is on disability, and my father has Crohns disease, lung disease, and asthma and should but cannot afford to be on disability. They have both been in and out of the hospital several times for long stints due either to surgery or spontaneous health crisis for the last two years (longer for my mother); my father was just recently in the hospital three weeks ago for a blood infection, and narrowly survived what is usually a fatal heart attack (5% of people survive the type he had) early in February of this year; and my mother just returned from over a week in the hospital due to respiratory problems and an abnormal heart rhythm. Furthermore, I have an intersex condition that I need surgery for (I have my surgical consults scheduled for spring and summer of next year), which thankfully should be covered by insurance but will require me to stay in NYC for nearly half a year, which I must pay for out of pocket. My family’s physical health creates logistical obstacles in the form of finance and everyday living, but also in terms of mental health. It’s extraordinarily upsetting for all of us to have such cripplingly severe physical health issues, so we have mental health issues as well due to the chronic stress induced by the unremitting bleakness of our situation.
Due to the health care system in the U.S., my parents have over sixty thousand dollars in medical bills to pay off this year alone in addition to all of the other expenses that come with paying off a house, a car, etc. However, because my family’s taxes show us in a particular income bracket, our expected contribution to the university is higher than we can reasonably accommodate given our extensive medical needs and their associated costs. My mother is almost immobile and needs 24/7 care, but we lack the finances to support that and I am busy taking twenty credits a semester, teaching at my university, applying to graduate school, and hopefully soon working in student government, so I have little time to help when I am present, which is uncommon due to my schedule and workload. The pittance I make as an undergraduate teaching assistant does not put a dent in my loans or allow me to help pay for food, and despite working two jobs over the summer to pay off seven thousand dollars worth (while preparing for graduate school applications and dealing with mental health crises), I still owe close to twenty thousand.
Any help you could offer me would be enormously valuable. I work extremely hard to be successful but have considerable obstacles placed in front of me because of my own and my family’s health.