RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A couple without a car relies on friends and family, and they say it's a strain because people aren't always available.
Cathy James is an amputee, and has been on dialysis for years. Her husband Charlie had a cancerous brain tumor removed recently. Their 30-year-old car broke down, and now it's difficult getting to doctors' appointments and cancer treatments.
Hard times started last January for the James family. It began with foot problems then Cathy says medicaid dropped her. With no insurance coverage and no cash, Cathy skipped going to the doctor.
"When I finally did get to the doctor, he said it was too late and my leg had to go, foot had to go. Leg had to go. They amputated my leg," she said.
Bad circumstances got worse when Cathy says she applied for help through SSI. She says she qualified for $5 per month, plus $200 per month in food stamps.
"He quit his job last May just to take care of me because I lost my leg. Then he got sick. He's got brain cancer, and found out he has a tumor on his brain the size of a plum," Cathy said about her husband Charlie, who was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive cancer. The tumor grew in five months.
"I started seeing him change. He was mean and mad and he would shake all the time like this and he had really bad headaches," she said.
Cathy's and Charlie's car died during the stressful back and forth hospital trips when Charlie was fighting cancer and had surgery. Safe and reliable transportation is what the James need now.
"He has to go and have chemo and radiation every day of the week for six weeks to make sure the cancer doesn't come back," Cathy said. "And I do dialysis three days a week. I need transportation for that too, because if I don't go I will die, and if he doesn't go, the cancer could come back and kill him."
They seem to rise during hard times and the couple married 30 years are loving and supportive towards each other now. Charlie says he bought their old ride for $200 from a man he used to work with.
"And I saved half of that in change," Cathy said. "I surely did. We've been driving it ever since. We'd done a lot with change. Even bought groceries with change, if you need to at the end of the month. I mean that's the way it works."