August 30, 2011
Tara Palaima survived her 18-month bout with breast cancer
and came away with a clean bill of health. But the 33-year-old resident of Malapan, New Jersey had another struggle on the horizon: medical bills totaling $10,000.
I never thought in a million years I would be in that situation, Palaima admitted to the Asbury Park Press
. I had a good job, great insurance. With one breath, all of a sudden everything was taken away from me.
Palaima was diagnosed in 2009, and subsequently went through eight rounds of chemotherapy, a lumpectomy, the removal of eight lymph nodes, as well as 33 rounds of radiation. She survived
this exhausting battle, as well as a divorce
and the loss of her job in 2009.
However, Palaima was not alone. Laura Burkes township-based non-profit, Raising Hope for Others
, is based in the same township as Palaima. The organization provides financial assistance to individuals battling serious illnesses and on average has raised $10,000
for each of its beneficiaries every year since its founding in 2008.
According to Burke, Palaima is a giver, regularly volunteering with breast cancer foundation Mama Mare, as well as the Central Jersey chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
She kind of caught our heartstrings, Burke said
. It was everything she was facing and that she wasnt giving up, (she) kept plugging away and wanting to help others.
When Palaima learned of the groups pledge, I just immediately started crying, she said. There are so many times Ive assisted others, and now
God answered my prayers and sent these ladies to assist me.
Raising Hope hosted its annual fundraiser
on August 14, offering a petting zoo, pony rides, a dunk tank, craft activity table and gift basket silent auction, with all proceeds to go towards offsetting Palaimas medical expenses.