Mother's Day Offering brings hope
May 2 2003 by Lynn Hall , N.C. Baptist Hospital

Mother's Day Offering brings hope | Friday, May 2, 2003

Friday, May 2, 2003

Mother's Day Offering brings hope

By Lynn Hall N.C. Baptist Hospital

The nightmare began just two and a half weeks after Danny and Laurie Epperson's son was born.

Laurie noticed a lump under the arm of their five-year-old daughter, Haleigh.

"That's when everything changed - life changed," Laurie said.

Haleigh had cancer.

Forty-eight grueling weeks of chemotherapy and radiation followed.

At such times, financial issues aren't a top priority. Then, the first hospital bill arrives.

"At first, I was focused on Haleigh and not the money, but then the bills started coming in," said Laurie Epperson. "There's this serious illness, a new baby, and overwhelming bills to deal with all at the same time. It was very stressful."

Laurie had to leave her job to be with the kids.

"Haleigh had treatments to undergo every day, and we had gone from two incomes to one," she said. "It was hard enough to make ends meet, but then you add on the medical expenses."

This kind of emotional roller coaster creates burdens that no one should bear alone. Thanks to N.C. Baptists, the Eppersons weren't alone.

Because of generous gifts to the Mother's Day Offering, help was available that restored hope in the lives of the Epperson family.

When a letter arrived stating that the balance of Haleigh's bill at Baptist Hospital had been paid 'by compassionate and mission-minded N.C. Baptists in the name of Jesus Christ and His love,' the Epperson family rejoiced.

"It was so overwhelming to me that people who did not even know us, didn't know Haleigh, could open their hearts up so much for somebody," Laurie said. "It was almost like an angel had come in and lifted up this huge burden off of us."

The Eppersons could barely think of anything positive during their dark days after Haleigh was diagnosed.

"We lost sight of the good things for a time," Laurie said.

Now, that's changed. She said they feel overwhelmed by the good that exists in the world - the kindness and generosity of complete strangers.

The Eppersons expressed their appreciation to N.C. Baptists.

"We thank all of you for being so caring and giving," Laurie said. "You've reminded us to look at life every day in a new hopeful way."

While her parents were working to deal with what each new day brought, Haleigh was carrying on like a trooper.

"She was amazing," said Laurie. "She never asked 'why me,' but instead accepted this as something she had to go through and prayed."

"I wasn't having fun because it wasn't that fun to have cancer," Haleigh said. "I just didn't feel like having cancer and I prayed to God every night that I wanted to feel better. And now I don't have cancer anymore. I'm glad."

Laurie Epperson's eyes filled with tears as she talked about her daughter's courage. "She's been our rock, very strong, very brave, even during all of the painful treatments. You'd think we'd be her rock, but it's the other way around."

When Haleigh was born, her parents selected her name because in Greek it means "hero." Laurie Epperson said she didn't realize in 1996 how true that would be. "And now I know. She is my hero."

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5/2/2003 12:00:00 AM by Lynn Hall , N.C. Baptist Hospital | with 0 comments
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