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Hopeful Blessings: Tom Siter

Tom Siter began losing his hearing and eyesight in his right eye after moving from California to Tennessee to start training for a security guard position in the summer of 2022. After being admitted to Vanderbilt Hospital, he was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) in August of 2022. Because of this, his 19-year-old foster son moved to live with Tom and take care of him. Sherry’s Hope received an application for assistance from Tom in January of 2023. Once Tom was approved by the Sherry’s Hope Board of Directors to receive assistance, Tom began emailing Patient Assistance Director, Alisa Eakes, about his journey each month. Alisa commented, “Tom was so grateful to receive even just one month of assistance with his rent and was amazed when assistance continued. He truly understands the purpose of Sherry’s Hope- to financially bridge the gap for cancer patients while they are undergoing treatment.”

 Due to the leukemia, Tom lost all of his hearing and became blind in his right eye. In March of 2023, Tom was deemed a match for cochlear implants. Because his insurance would not cover hearing assistance, he began working with hearing foundations to fund the surgery. Doctors shared with Tom that they believed he might be able to gain about 50% of his hearing back if he completed his surgery as soon as possible. “Cochlear implants are a hopeful blessing for me,” Tom said, “For now, I am just going day by day and not letting anything stress me out, as I have learned throughout all of these issues. I have to take it slow and believe that God has a plan- which I constantly have to remind myself.” On top of the hearing and sight loss, Tom’s treatment later caused all of his teeth to deteriorate which led to a need for dentures.

Despite all of the hardships, Tom enrolled in a training program to be a foster parent in the state of Tennessee. Tom remarked, “This leukemia has finally gotten to me mentally. It has caused my deafness, vertigo, partial blindness, and tinnitus. I am still thankful to be alive, but there are days it has mentally broken me. I just keep thinking about being a foster dad and the possibility of being able to adopt the child placed with me one year after placement- that has been the thing to keep me fighting. I cannot thank you enough for your help- for what Sherry’s Hope has done for me, I would not have made it this far without your help and assistance.”

Tom was able to get new glasses that immensely improved his long-distance sight in January of 2024 and was also eventually approved for a cochlear implant in his left ear which the Dallas Hearing Foundation covered. Although those are two great things, his insurance wouldn’t cover those expenses, and Tom had to pay for the glasses and the anesthesia out of pocket. However, Tom’s attitude only saw the positive in it all, “I don’t know how I would have covered the new glasses or the two upcoming anesthesia bills at this point if Sherry’s Hope hadn’t granted me rent assistance. I would have been evicted from my home.” Because Sherry’s Hope assisted with Tom’s monthly rent, he was not burdened with the thought of losing his home and was able to put more of his income towards improving the things leukemia had deteriorated.

Tom traveled to Dallas, Texas and had cochlear implant surgery on May 8th.  The surgery has currently recovered 35% of the hearing in his left ear, which will only continue to improve in the next months. Tom also finished his foster parent classes and is on track to officially be cleared as a Tennessee foster parent in July of this year. Because of your support, Sherry’s Hope can support cancer patients like Tom on their journeys. Tom closed, “Going to Dallas would not have been possible without your continued support. New glasses have saved my vision, my cancer is under control now, I use a cane to combat vertigo, I have dentures now, and my left ear has been given the gift of hearing. More than half of those positive achievements would not have happened without the support of Sherry’s Hope. I can never thank the organization for putting that life raft in the water and pulling me out of that dark place I would have headed to… sending me back into the light. I can’t wait until I am healthy again because I need to find a way to pay this back or forward through Sherry’s Hope in the future. You have my absolute gratitude.”

Your support truly changes lives. Because you give, cancer patients like Tom have a chance to find a little normalcy amid hard times. Instead of being crippled with the fear of losing his home and possibly never being able to hear again due to the effects of leukemia, Tom was able to rest assured that he had a place to live as he fought cancer and explored the possibilities of regaining his hearing.  Thank you for giving HOPE to Tom and many more cancer patients in Wilson County (TN) and surrounding communities.

 Sherry’s Hope is a Christian, non-profit organization that works throughout the year to provide hope to families battling cancer in Wilson County and surrounding communities by offering emotional encouragement and financial assistance. To learn more about Sherry’s Hope, please call 615-925-2592. To refer someone for assistance, please call 615-925-9932 or email help@sherryshope.org. To make a donation to Sherry’s Hope, click here or mail donations to Sherry’s Hope, P.O. Box 8, Lebanon, TN 37088-0008.

cancer, cochlear, hope, support