Published in The Antioch Herald and The Brentwood Press, August 2013
Trina Coy probably shouldn’t be alive right now. “I’m pretty sure my doctor at Kaiser would be shocked I’m still alive,” Coy says. In 2008, Coy felt a lump in her breasts, but Kaiser doctors dismissed it as a clogged milk duct and prescribed birth control pills to control other symptoms. Two years later, when a second lump appeared, doctors discovered that she had breast cancer. In fact, Coy has the “second most aggressive form of breast cancer.” When she was diagnosed in 2010, she had a 4% chance of being alive in five years.
Unable to get proper care at Kaiser, Coy asked the HMO if she could receive care at John Muir. Kaiser refused. So, the Coy family turned to fundraising. Neighbors held a series of garage sales for the family in 2011. The family also set up a medical fund to which people can donate and contribute to Coy’s treatments.
Trina Coy has been fighting for her life for 2-1/2 years so she can be a mom who can be there for her children, Kevin (19), Brandon (9), and Karina (6). Karina and Brandon attend Antioch Charter Academy II. Some families Coy has befriended through the school are putting together a garage sale and bake sale fundraiser over Labor Day weekend to help the Coy family pay for further medical treatment.
The timing is incredibly important. In July, doctors discovered that Coy’s cancer, which had already spread from her breasts to her lymph nodes, brain, and bones, has now spread to her liver and lungs. Coy doesn’t yet have a prognosis. “I don’t think I want to see it,” she says.
In March, when doctors found 21 tumors in her brain, she was told that people with that many tumors generally have three to six months to live. Fortunately, one of Coy’s doctors had just read that Washington Hospital was performing gamma knife radiation on multiple brain tumors. Coy has responded well to these treatments, and may not need another round. The cancer in her lymph nodes has disappeared, but doctors are still working on the cancer in her bones. Now, she has cancer in her liver and lungs. She says, “This is the first thing that I’ve had that I feel.”
Coy says she was “scared to death” to find out about the cancer. At the time, she thought “it’s all over.” But she’s healthier than she really should be and has defied expectations, which she attributes to alternative therapies. Coy spent eight months at the Oasis of Healing center in Mesa, AZ. One week of treatment cost $8,000. So far, the family has spent about $150,000 out of pocket. That doesn’t include what was covered by previous fundraising and donations.
At this time, one of Coy’s doctors is recommending a treatment in Thailand, which costs about $30,000. Coy says there is no way this is going to happen. They simply don’t have the money. But she is going to continue the treatments she’s been getting and continue alternative therapies as long as they provide her quality of life. She’s looking into clinical trials, which may require more travel. She is also trying a drug that is new to the market. All of these drugs and treatments come with large co-pays.
Coy says, “Cancer sucks. It’s not fun. But there are times when I feel luckier than the average person, because of the things I’ve seen and the people in my life.”
What: Fight for Trina Garage Sale and Bake Sale Fundraiser
When: Labor Day Weekend. Friday, 8/30 8 a.m. – noon and Saturday, 8/31 8 a.m. – noon
Where: 2110 Fuente Ct., Antioch
If you have donations for the sale, they can be dropped off at the above address on August 25.
For more information, please contact Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to donate to Fight For Trina Medical Fund, you can do so through Wells Fargo:
1. Inside a Wells Fargo branch, you can ask to make a donation to the Fight For Trina Medical Fund.
2. Send a check made out to the Fight For Trina Medical Fund to 2601 Somersville Rd., Antioch, CA, 94509.
If you are a Wells Fargo customer, you can transfer funds to account #6124330694.