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Paula & Emily: a true PAN family

Paula’s mom, Emily, was always there for her and her sisters.

Emily Manfredi gave up a lot to support her three daughters when they were growing up, even working two jobs to make ends meet. Her middle daughter, Paula Lujan, has fond memories of going to work with her mom and helping with tasks when they couldn’t afford a babysitter. So, when Emily fell ill, it only made sense for her daughters to come together for her.

After about a week of feeling bloated, discomforted, and constipated, Paula suggested her mom get some medical attention. Emily was admitted for emergency surgery to remove a tumor near her stomach that was causing the blockage. After the tumor was removed, a biopsy came back positive for signs of cancer.

When Emily was first diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2013, she was put on intravenous chemotherapy. After only a few infusions, Emily’s health started to decline and Paula knew they needed to seek another treatment.

There was an oral treatment available that Paula knew would be easier for her mom. The pill had fewer side effects and could be taken at home, eliminating a 30–40-minute commute each way to the doctor downtown.

The only issue? The new medication would cost her $800 per pill out-of-pocket. 

When added on top of the medication for her diabetes and kidney treatments, it was more than Emily could afford on her low-income retirement. A determined Paula scoured the internet for options and that’s when came across the PAN Foundation. 

“I looked up all the diseases PAN had funds for and saw that colon cancer was one of them,” she said. “At that time, I couldn’t find any other organizations offering assistance for colon cancer treatment.” 

Paula called PAN to apply for assistance for her mom and received the news immediately that they were approved.  

I was excited, I was ecstatic, and I immediately hung up the phone to go call my mom.” 

After switching to the oral treatment medication for her cancer, Emily’s body started to respond quickly. Today, she is going on five years of remission. Paula gives all credit to PAN. 

“I was truly blessed by the PAN Foundation and I will forever feel indebted to them because of what they did for my mom,” Paula said. 

Because Paula is so appreciative of the assistance her family received from PAN, she made the decision to join the PAN family herself and give every month to support others.  

I give to PAN on a monthly basis because they helped me and I would hope that they can help somebody else.”

Paula often spreads the word about PAN and what they were able to do to help her family navigate Emily’s battle with cancer on social media. Once again, doing what she can to support others. Just like her mom taught her.  

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