When Chrissy Turner was just eight years old, she found a painful lump under her nipple. Initially, doctors weren't concerned about the spot—but after conducting some testing, they revealed a shocking diagnosis to the girl's family: Chrissy had an extremely rare form of breast cancer. Only about 15 people in the U.S. have this form of the disease, and Chrissy was the youngest patient her doctors had seen.
"She had a lumpectomy, and it was after they biopsied it that they found the cancer," Chrissy mother, Annette Turner, told Parents.com. "They scheduled a joint surgery—they did a whole mastectomy on her right side, and they took three lymph nodes under her armpit to see if it had traveled. We were so blessed to know that it did not travel, it was all contained to one area. She's been recovering ever since. She's been super resilient...She inspires people. When she was diagnosed, she was scared but she was like 'whatever we have to do, let's do this.'"
But sadly, Chrissy's battle isn't the only experience the Turner family has had with cancer: Annette is a cervical cancer survivor, and Chrissy's father, Troy, battled non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. These battles have not only taken an emotional toll on the family, but a financial one as well.
"[The financial burden] is unreal," Annette said. "We have insurance, but it doesn't pay for everything. The hard part with Chrissy is that she is a unique case. Everything is different, and for now, they've been able to do ultrasounds—but she's beginning to grow breast tissue on her left side, so they're discussing sending her to a women's clinic. They're not sure what kind of diagnostic they're going to be able to do—it could be MRI, and with an MRI, our insurance doesn't cover all of it. It's like a $1,000 deductible every time, and if she's doing that every three to four months, it can get really pricey."
Troy's bills have already put the family in bankruptcy, and with Chrissy's diagnosis, the costs just keep mounting. A family friend started a GoFundMe page for the Turners to help them deal with these costs.
"It has been an absolute overwhelming blessing," Annette said of the GoFundMe page, which has raised over $95,000. "So many angels have come out. If it weren't for them, we wouldn't have paid the bills. There's just no way we could do this without them. It was just a humbling experience—we just can't do it with our financial situation. My husband works for the military, he's got a really good job, and I work part-time, but it's just [too much]."
Nearly two years after it was started, the GoFundMe page is still active—and the costs haven't died down for the Turner family. They have no way of knowing how Chrissy's case will be handled going forward, but she'll need more surgeries in coming years and will require constant monitoring.
"There's no treatment plan in place for this type of cancer, especially for a ten-year-old," Annette said. "My husband, too—he's been under close watch since 2011, and it's not going to come to an end anytime soon. It's just uncertain. That's the difficulty of it all. No family should ever to face this."