My name is Romy Wightman, and here is my story. In 2014 while training for the Ragnar trail run, I noticed I was not recovering as fast as my normal. When I went to the doctor, I was expecting a diagnosis of a sinus infection but instead, I received a diagnosis of Stage IV Colon Cancer. Excuse me, What? I thought I was the picture of health; I was under age 50, ate right, exercised and followed all the recommended health protocols. In addition to my day job and raising a family, I now had a new job that I never applied for; survival!
While going through treatment, I didn’t pay much attention to the medical bills that were stacking up. Chemo has a way of keeping you in a fog and when I was lucky enough to enjoy a good day, tending to paperwork was not high on the list of “to do’s”. In just three short years, I had managed to rack up $80K in out-of-pocket expenses and that was with good insurance coverage through my employer! My anxiety was at an all-time high. I was still working full time because I clearly needed the insurance but with my ongoing cancer treatments, I didn’t know how we were going to pay my medical bills so that I could continue receiving the care I needed. What would happen if I couldn’t pay? Were the doctors that I relied on for my life-saving care going to black ball me from their practices?
We downsized our home, scoured our bills for savings, and had to tell our kids “no” to a lot of things. Life was very different, and our entire family had to adjust. I challenge you to ask someone you know who has a chronic illness (diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disease for example) how much they spend per year on medical expenses: I bet that their answer will be shocking to you. The number one cause of bankruptcy in this country is medical debt, and it is happening to people just like you; people who have plans in place and have tried to do all the right things to protect themselves and their families.
Our healthcare system is desperately broken. The reality is, many people don’t have that long. Wight Horse was created to help people manage medical debt by either negotiating down the debt or setting up payment plans and paying off portions of debt. We want people to focus on healing rather than living in fear that they will no longer be able to receive life-saving treatment because of the cost.
We have a business plan, a strong mentorship support strategy and we are ready to launch as a 501(c)(3). We ask you to consider a donation to our startup costs and helping our first recipients. We are excited to partner with you and begin to make a difference for our community. Visit us at www.wighthorse.org to learn more.