Disabled Joliet woman with breast cancer needs help with transportation expenses

A friend started a GoFundMe account to pay for Darlene April’s trips back and forth to Chicago to see her doctor

Darlene April just had a double mastectomy last Thursday, but the 58-year-old Joliet woman is more worried about money than her health.

April has been on disability since 2017 after radiation treatments for her first bout of breast cancer destroyed her bone mass, April said.

But Medicare does not cover April’s transportation costs from her Joliet apartment to Rush University Medical Center in Chicago where her doctor practices.

“I was paying Uber $67 each way to the doctor at Rush,” April said. “I have the receipts.”

April said she also has co-pays when she gets to Rush because it’s out of her network and that she has “maxed out” her credit cards on transportation costs.

But April doesn’t want to change doctors because her medical records from her cancer treatments seven years ago as well as the famly’s history of breast cancer, are at Rush. So are the records of April’s cousin, who also goes to Rush and who also has fought breast cancer.

So a friend is trying to help April raise money for April’s transportation expenses through GoFundMe.

April’s original cancer was found through her annual mammogram, which April said she regularly received due to her family history.

Three aunts, six first cousins and a second cousin have all had breast cancer, April said. April was 51 when stage two breast cancer was found in her right breast seven years ago.

April said she had radiation treatments, which left her with osteoarthritis and “full-blown” osteoporosis.

“And sometimes I have uncontrolled muscle spasms,” April said. “The radiation damaged my body really bad.”

But it did get rid of the cancer, she said.

Since then, April’s has received mammograms every six months. The cancer returned in the right breast in January. April also had some calcification in the left breast, she said.

April didn’t want to take any more chances. So she opted for the double mastectomy.

“Because of the family history,” April said.

From her understanding so far, April’s breast cancer has not spread to her lymph nodes. She will know more at her follow-up doctor’s appointment.

If she can afford to get there.

Donate to April’s GoFundMe fundraiser here.

Denise M. Baran-Unland

Denise M. Baran-Unland is the features editor for The Herald-News in Joliet. She covers a variety of human interest stories. She also writes the long-time weekly tribute feature “An Extraordinary Life about local people who have died. She studied journalism at the College of St. Francis in Joliet, now the University of St. Francis.