It was 1994, and Cheryl Dunn had just accepted a full-time position with her employer. Newly married and healthy, a life-altering diagnosis was the last thing on her mind. Still, she found herself sitting in an oncologist’s office receiving the news:
“It all happened very, very quickly,” Cheryl said. “It almost didn’t sink in that I had cancer.”
A Welcomed Surprise
After high doses of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Cheryl beat the cancer and life returned to normal—at least for a little while. A few months after completing treatment, she began feeling ill again. Afraid the cancer had returned, Cheryl scheduled an appointment with her oncologist for further testing. That’s when she discovered it wasn’t cancer at all.
“During that CAT scan, I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I didn’t think I could have children, so it was a huge surprise,” she said. “I called [my husband] and he was stuck in a traffic jam…He told me he was bawling his eyes out.”
Cheryl and her husband welcomed their first child in 1996. A few years later, they had two children and three dogs with whom to share their adventures. Her career with the city continued to grow, and Cheryl soon became the Deputy City Treasurer/Purchasing Agent.
Despite all of the positive changes, she couldn’t help but wonder what the future had in store for her health.
“Cancer was always the elephant in the room…You try not to dwell on it, but it was always in the back of your mind,” Cheryl said. To help protect her future, she purchased a Limited Benefit Cancer Insurance*,+ policy from American Fidelity Assurance Company—hoping to never use it.
In the summer of 2015, a torn rotator cuff and reparative surgery led Cheryl to another diagnosis: stage three non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
“It almost seems like a bad dream because, I never felt really sick. I had blood clots in my leg and that’s how we found out this time,” she said. “I knew I had a problem, but it did not cross my mind that it could be cancer.”
Along with more treatments and appointments, Cheryl also faced an overwhelming amount of medical bills.
“My husband had three surgeries on his foot and was unable to work. He had just started a job and had no leave time. That would have been devastating to us and it nearly was,” Cheryl said. “With the insurance company and my benefits with American Fidelity, that’s the only way we survived and were able to stay in our house and pay our bills.”
A Helping Hand
Through her treatments, medicines, and bone marrow transplant, Cheryl focused on the positive. “Even though my cancer came back, one blessing from all of this was the one-time payment we received,” she said. “We were behind on every bill, and they were piling up. I am so glad I had the policy, as it saved us. I still have the coverage to this day, and I am so thankful for it.”
Today, Cheryl has been with her employer for 26 years. In that time, she has become a leader amongst her peers—both professionally and personally. “I’ve had a few employees here tell me that because of my story, they decided to get the cancer policy for themselves,” Cheryl said. “I hope you never have to use it. I hope never to have to use it again, but if you need it, it’s wonderful to have.”
Following recent treatments, Cheryl’s prognosis is good. Between her family and vinyl crafting hobby, she stays busy. “We have a full life,” Cheryl said.
American Fidelity can help provide relief when life takes an unexpected turn.
To learn more about Cheryl's story, click here or watch the video below.
* This product may contain limitations, exclusions and waiting periods.
+ This product is inappropriate for people who are eligible for Medicaid coverage.