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Little chance to fight cancer because I was too busy fighting to keep my job

Little chance to fight cancer because I was too busy fighting to keep my job

January 14, 2015

Dear President Obama,

My name is Carolynn and I am a member of 9to5 Colorado and I am a cancer survivor. I am writing to ask you to support the federal FAMILY Act and to urge Governor Hickenlooper to support the proposed Colorado Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI)
Act.

I have always worked hard for an equal chance to advance and having a fair shot with safe and decent working conditions. In October, 2009 I had a left breast mastectomy with reconstruction and had little chance to fight cancer because I was too busy fighting to keep my job. When you are at your most vulnerable state, documented workplace intimidation and retaliation are another aspect of surviving cancer.

Cancer is expensive! Not just from a financial point of view, but also from the emotional and physical toll that results. I took 9 ½ weeks of FMLA during which I also used all of my accrued paid time off, which was only three weeks. There was not short term or long term disability available for me, and I could not afford to take any more unpaid time off. Because I did all the right things, always paid my bills on time, built up an emergency savings fund, and maintained an excellent credit rating, I did not qualify for any assistance.

My work position is a relatively low paying one, with a substantial part of my income coming from tips. During an eight hour shift, my employer does not provide any breaks or meal period.

I am a sole provider with a home mortgage and all the normal household and personal expenses. I have worked multiple jobs for five years in order to build my savings. All of my savings were used to pay for out of pocket co-pays covering all of my medical, hospital, chemo and radiation bills. As a result, I am unable to have some badly needed major repairs completed on my 32 year old house.

The Colorado FAMLI Act will go a long way in providing individuals such as me with a “safety blanket’ of financial assistance while undergoing treatment for a debilitating medical condition such as cancer. Mr. President, please support the federal FAMILY Act and urge Governor Hickenlooper to support the proposed Colorado Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Act, so other families like mine don’t become homeless and get separated from each other.

Thank you,

Carolynn
Westminster, CO

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