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Entries in Chemotherapy (2)

Thursday
Aug182011

City Shuts Down Yard Sale for Cancer Victim

ABC News(SALEM, Ore.) -- The city of Salem, Ore., shut down the yard sale of a woman who had been selling her belongings to pay for her medical bills. The reason? A city ordinance limits a home to hosting a yard sale three times a year, as first reported by ABC affiliate KATU.

Jan Cline, 64, said she did not know such a law existed. She thought she was being unobtrusive by hosting the yard sale in the backyard, but a city code enforcement officer on Monday came to inform her that a neighbor had complained and she was breaking the law.

Cline, who was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer on July 1, has been unable to run her two businesses, an educational toy company and a limousine service. But after being devastated by the diagnosis of the disease, which can be terminal, she thought a yard sale would temporarily help her pay for medical bills and house payments while she is recovering. Meanwhile she is staying in the home of a friend to avoid walking up and down her stairway.

"I'm not supposed to be walking now because it eats through the bones and puts holes in the bones. I could walk and break a leg," she said.

Cline said she is a "resourceful" and "hard-headed" business woman.

"I'm not the type to let the government pay my way," Cline told ABC News. "If something happens I jump to and take care of it. That was my solution. I thought for half an hour. Have a major garage sale and sell my life."

The local chamber of commerce groups and friends have volunteered in the four or five weekend yard sales this summer. She said she made about a "couple hundred" dollars each weekend.

But when the city informed her she had to shut down the sales or pay a $380 fine or even face jail time, she said she cried.

"I just hope that nobody else has to go through this kind of thing," Cline told KATU. "I hope no one else has to give their lives away for nickels and dimes and then be told they can't even do that. I hope nobody else has to do this ever."

The city's ordinance 96.165 about yard sales or garage sales states "it shall be unlawful to conduct within the City of Salem more than three garage sales in any calendar year, each of said sales to extend no longer than three days."

"I told them I understand the law but in this particular case I would like to ask if there could be an exception. I would like you to think of me as a human instead of a complaint on a list," Cline told ABC News.

Mike Gottard, public information officer for Salem, said the city is trying to help Cline while respecting the law and the neighbor who complained.

"We are very sympathetic to her situation so are working to try to find something that will be better," Gottard said. "Again, this was driven by a complaint. We don't go out and look for these things. We want to come up with a solution for everybody." Gottard said the city is working with the Chamber of Commerce or faith-based groups to support Cline.

Cline said she is looking forward to surviving the "aggressive" treatment she is undergoing so she can get back to work and have an income. She said doctors have told her she has a 93 percent chance of remission when the treatment ends in late October, and she could stay in remission for five to 15 years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr052011

Murder Trial Begins for Mother Who Withheld Cancer Treatment for Autistic Son

Comstock/Thinkstock(LAWRENCE, Mass.) -- A Lawrence, Mass., Superior Court jury heard opening statements Tuesday in the case against a mother charged with attempted murder in withholding chemotherapy medications from her son, who died of leukemia in 2009.

Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall alleged that Kristen LaBrie, 37, of Salem, Mass., knew how important it was for her son, Jeremy Fraser, to take the prescribed medications.

"Not to have done so would have been like pushing him in front of a car," MacDougall told jurors during her opening statement. Still, MacDougall said, LaBrie allegedly told others that she did not give her son the necessary medications while falsely telling others she did.

LaBrie's attorney, Kevin James, said that LaBrie was a single mother with "severe financial problems" who bore the burden of taking care of her son. As a young child, Jeremy Fraser had been diagnosed with autism. James said LaBrie's mental state led her to initially lie about giving Jeremy his medications.

"She made a decision in her mind to stop the medication. The decision was not made consciously," James told the court in his opening statement.

In October 2006, nine-year-old Jeremy was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but doctors gave him an 85 percent to 90 percent chance of recovery, MacDougall said during the arraignment in 2009. Large doses of chemotherapy were given to the boy in the hospital, and his cancer went into remission.

His mother was given prescriptions for medications he was to be given at home. During the arraignment, MacDougall said LaBrie repeatedly failed to pick up prescriptions but led doctors to believe she was getting them filled, even asking at one point for a liquid version of the medication because her son was having difficulty swallowing pills.

In February 2008, after one of Jeremy's doctors called LaBrie's pharmacy and learned she had not been filling prescriptions, LaBrie said the pharmacy must have made a mistake, MacDougall said. It was at that point that doctors learned the boy's cancer had returned as leukemia and was no longer treatable with chemotherapy, she said.

LaBrie, 37, had earlier been charged with child endangerment. A grand jury returned the more serious indictment Friday.

LaBrie faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.

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