Stephanie Packer, wife and mother of four and a former Church youth counselor, was diagnosed with scleroderma in 2012.
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Stephanie Packer, Patient Advocate and Spokesperson for the Right to Life Movement, is a mother of four and a former Church youth counselor who was diagnosed with scleroderma in 2012. This autoimmune disease has attacked her lungs and other vital internal organs, causing pulmonary fibrosis. This end stage lung disease is what makes her disease terminal. It is literally turning her lungs (and other organs) to stone!
Most days bring Stephanie excruciating pain as she struggles to breathe. She can no longer eat and digest food, so she takes nourishment through a tube. While there is no current cure for scleroderma, there are many treatments available to help particular symptoms. Stephanie has done everything she can to fight this terrible disease while struggling to raise her four kids and continuing to function as a spokesperson on Right to Life issues.
At one point, her insurance company refused to pay for treatments to prolong her life. They informed Stephanie that, because her home state of California passed legislation approving assisted suicide, with a doctor’s prescription, they could offer her life-ending medication for a “co-pay of only $1.20”!! After some discussion in which she explained her religious principles concerning the sanctity of life, the insurance company reversed their position, and Stephanie’s treatment plan was able to move forward.
Stephanie’s experience with insurance led her to become a Patient Advocate and Spokesperson for end of life issues. She has testified at several state hearings against legislation that would legalize Physician Assisted Suicide and has worked closely with Life Legal Defense Foundation in Napa, California (https://lifelegaldefensefoundation.org/), a ministry that provides legal assistance against the threat of death at any stage of life.
To call Stephanie’s present life traumatic, chaotic, and frustrating would be an understatement. Tragically, Stephanie’s husband and the father of her children is no longer in the picture. He has left the family, relocated to Texas, is involved in an illicit relationship, and has left behind signs of abuse and trauma caused by him. He does not contribute any funds to either Stephanie or the children and has actually stolen funds from them, leaving the family destitute.
Over the past year, Stephanie and her children have had to move seven times. Stephanie has been unable to pay for her pain-killing medications. Her computer, Internet, and phone service were shut off for lack of payment, leaving her unable to contact her doctors in the event of an emergency. Her four children (Brian, Jr., Scarlett, Jacob, and Savannah) suffered greatly; she was unable to continue home schooling them because of her inability to pay for it.
The toll taken by all of the above and more caused unimaginable stress, causing her disease to progress quickly and painfully. Nevertheless, she maintains a buoyant spirit and her unwavering faith in G-d’s plan for her.
Her condition is still perilous but Stephanie wants to live as long as she can in order to be with her children and to honor her Catholic religious beliefs, which forbid suicide. There is still hope for her survival.
Thankfully, the Knights of Columbus and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul have helped with the family’s needs. We are happy to report that YOUR donations through Funding Morality have also helped to protect and care for this family. However, your ongoing support can be really beneficial as there is still much that the family goes without.
Please help Stephanie, a true fighter for life and against assisted suicide through these rough times by donating here.
We thank the Center for Garden State Families (http://www.gardenstatefamilies.org) for bringing this case to our attention.