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The McGarry Family’s Story

The McGarry Family’s Story

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The McGarry Family's Story

The McGarrys were an ordinary middle-income family before Tracy was diagnosed with high-risk multiple myeloma cancer after fracturing her back while cheering at her son’s baseball game. After several MRIs, the doctors discovered that her fractures were due to weakened bones caused by the cancer. Since her diagnosis last June, Tracy has quit her job to undergo intensive chemotherapy treatments and a stem cell transplant, while her husband has taken time off work to help care for her and their two boys.

Like many families in their position, the McGarrys quickly found themselves struggling financially, facing a loss of income combined with increased expenses, despite having health insurance through Mike’s job.

“For the first 6 months after Tracy was diagnosed, we were fighting from day to day,” Mike shared. “She couldn’t walk and was on heavy chemotherapy treatments. She hasn’t been able to work and at this point doesn’t qualify for disability.”

Since joining the Financial Planning for Cancer Program, funded by FFP, and in partnership with Family Reach and the Financial Planning Association, the McGarrys have been matched with volunteer financial planner Brittany Heard, CFP®, whose pro bono planning sessions have given them hope for a brighter financial future. “I feel like the most value I’ve added is keeping the McGarrys from making other financial mistakes while they attempt to fix their current situation,” said Brittany, who advised them not to take money from their retirement accounts to pay off their consolidated debt.

Mike agreed, describing how Brittany has helped him in “keeping up with the bills and trying to set financial goals going forward.” He also emphasized how meaningful it has been to have a trusted advisor who cares about his family and can advise them during an immensely challenging time.

FFP is committed to helping more families like the McGarrys. “I appreciate all the financial help that we continue to receive,” said Mike.

Published on March 29, 2019

“For the first 6 months after Tracy was diagnosed, we were fighting from day to day.”
–Mike McGarry


  • Received input on key decisions, such as whether to refinance mortgage
  • Increased cash flow by reducing pay withholding after advice on taxes
  • Planner compiled data to create comprehensive financial picture