A Londonderry woman is undergoing cancer treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston after a successful fund raising campaign initiated by her children.
Ellen Sanborn, a 20-year resident, was diagnosed with brain cancer at the end of September, according to her daughter Elizabeth Rios of Brookline. Doctors recommended a technique called “proton therapy,” Rios said, explaining, “Instead of going through your head, it focuses directly on the tumor.” But Sanborn was on her husband’s insurance with BAE Systems of Nashua, and the procedure wasn’t covered.
“She was supposed to start treatment Nov. 16, but we had to pay for it ourselves,” Rios said in a phone interview last week. The family was on the hook for $200,000.
Rios and her siblings Catherine, 25; Matthew, 23; and Erin, 21, couldn’t let that happen. So they created a Go Fund Me page, and at press time they had collected $140,000. Her parents took the rest of the money from savings, according to Rios, and her mother is now undergoing the proton therapy.
Rios said she and her siblings weren’t surprised at the generosity of friends and family. They have deep roots in the area, she pointed out, with all four children graduates of Londonderry High School. Donations also came from extended family, their work colleagues and college friends.
And strangers came on board from newspaper articles and a Facebook page, she said, for a total of 1,000 units of donors.
Ellen Sanborn was on her sixth day of proton therapy the day of the interview, and was “doing well,” according to Rios. Sanborn is living at home and family members take turns driving her to Boston each day, Rios said.
Sanborn is a registered nurse working at the Southern New Hampshire Medical Center and also teaching nursing at Saint Anselm College, Rios said. Despite her diagnosis, Sanborn finished graduate school and received her doctorate in nursing in December.
“She is selfless and willing to help others – her family, friends, her students,” Rios said. “She loves passing on knowledge and helping others succeed.”
Those who still want to contribute may visit HYPERLINK “http://www.gofundme.com/ellenstreatment” www.gofundme.com/ellenstreatment.