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Supporting Hope: How the Al Copeland Patient Assistance Fund provided stability to Aylin's cancer journey

Supporting Hope: How the Al Copeland Patient Assistance Fund provided stability to Aylin's cancer journey

Aylin was just two years old when she started having stomach issues at the beginning of 2023. Nothing seemed to alleviate it. Eventually, her stomach became inflamed, and she started having difficulty breathing. That's when Mom, Josselin, and Dad, Oscar, had to take her to a clinic in their hometown, Gulfport, Mississippi. The clinic in Gulfport referred them to the hospital in Gulfport where after running multiple tests, they received harrowing news on March 25, 2023: Aylin was diagnosed  with Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She was then referred straight to Children’s Hospital New Orleans for life-saving treatment at the Cancer Center where she began her chemotherapy infusions.  

Adding to this already stressful situation, Josselin was pregnant with Aylin’s baby sister, Brianna Sophia. During this time that Aylin was receiving treatments, she gave birth to Brianna and had to pay out of pocket for her own medical care in Mississippi, while also supporting their two other children, 12-year-old, Ashley, and 6-year-old, Jose. It was a lot to balance with their two year old having to receive cancer care in New Orleans, with a newborn and two other children still needing daily care. All the while they had to uproot their lives from Gulfport, Mississippi to live nearby so that Aylin could easily receive her treatments. They spoke with their social worker Sally, about financial options. Sally was able to set them up with a $1,100 grant from Al Copeland Foundation which paid the rent during their 22 day stay in New Orleans. Not having to worry about paying rent on top of everything going on was an incredible blessing.  

The Al Copeland Foundation's mission is to help find cures for cancer and help patients through prevention, education, and access to clinical trials. $168,000 was donated last year to patients and their families. The fund supports critical financial needs so that the families who have a child receiving cancer care can focus on their child's mental and physical well-being rather than if they can pay their rent, get gas, or put food on the table. "I've been able to see firsthand the impact that this fund has on these families," says Lynn Winnfield, Senior Director of Patient Care Services at the Children's Hospital Cancer Center. Since April 2023, the Al Copeland Patient Assistance Fund has been able to provide 35 families with over $21,000 of grants. 

In Aylin's case, Mom and Dad weren’t able to work so they say the money “saved us.” They would encourage anyone to apply and talk to their social worker about the financial options available to them. They are very grateful for the Al Copeland funds help. “That saved us that month, it was a lot of help to us,” says Oscar.  Today, Aylin is doing well and is cancer free as of April 28. However, she will have to continue getting infusions once a week at Children’s for the next three years. Funds like the Al Copeland Patient Assistance Fund are able to provide lodging for them when they have to come in town for any long-term care.