The Mang Family's Story
Peter and Katie were busy parents, working full-time while caring for their two young kids. In 2018, their lives took a drastic turn when Peter was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, an aggressive form of brain cancer. Peter immediately underwent treatment, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the cancer recurred in November 2019 and again in 2020, requiring Peter to undergo ongoing treatment.
The diagnosis and treatments completely changed the family’s everyday life. Peter’s treatment schedule was rigorous and included receiving infusions twice a week. He also started experiencing side effects from the cancer that affected his day-to-day life and he began occupational, physical, and speech therapy. Eventually, Peter was no longer able to work, leaving Katie as the sole income earner and primary caregiver for their kids.
While they were able to keep their finances on track during the first year following the diagnosis, Peter and Katie found that the costs of treatment were adding up as time went on and they could no longer financially keep up. Katie also noted that “the typical financial advice for families touched by cancer doesn’t take into account the unique expenses of a young family (childcare costs, tuition, lower savings, juggling parenting and caregiving, loss of income), as well as the fact that due to my husband’s diagnosis, his treatment and thus our bills would be ongoing for the rest of his life.”
Katie began looking for help with getting their finances back on track. After being recommended to FFP grantee, Family Reach, and their Financial Coaching Program — which connects cancer patients with CFP® professionals to help manage their finances and develop a financial plan — Katie and Peter were paired with a CFP® volunteer, Ryan.
When they met with their planner, Ryan, they found it to be a great fit. Katie said, “He really understood that the goals of our unique situation would be different from other families.” During the session, Ryan helped Peter and Katie create a comprehensive financial plan. They created a budget, prioritized the various treatment expenses, and considered what different diagnosis possibilities could mean financially, while also ensuring that they could still cover their children’s short-term and long-term needs. “We walked through everything from transportation and prescriptions to babysitters and insurance premiums,” said Katie. Ryan also recommended other resources that were specifically focused on helping families with a cancer diagnosis.
Today, Peter continues to undergo treatment for brain cancer. He and Katie are both grateful for the guidance they received from Family Reach and their planner, Ryan. “Family Reach was a critical resource to us during this challenging time. Our financial coaching session was invaluable.” Katie especially hopes that other families facing a cancer diagnosis will take advantage of the opportunity. “Meeting with a financial planner that understands the unique needs of families facing cancer is an investment in your family’s future financial wellbeing. It’s a free service, delivered with trust, empathy, and support. I could ask the “tough” financial questions that I didn’t feel comfortable asking friends and family.”
“Family Reach was a critical resource to us during this challenging time. Our financial coaching session was invaluable.”
Planner helped client to…
- Develop a budget and prioritize their various medical and other expenses.
- Create a financial plan that accounts for a long-term cancer diagnosis and treatment.
- Ensure that their children’s short- and long-term needs are covered.