SPECIAL FEATURE: LOCAL RESIDENT BATTLING BACK
by A.C. Hall
Local resident Tia Brady has been on the receiving end of some challenging news over the past several years. Diagnosed with melanoma in 2010, Tia fought and defeated the disease only to see it return in 2014. Once again, after a series of treatments, Tia found herself in remission. The challenging news continued in October of 2015, when Tia was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma. She was also told that the cancer had metastasized to her liver and abdomen. What’s followed has been a series of tests, treatments, and procedures as Tia once again battles against this disease.
Making the situation even more trying was an insurance error that caused Tia’s insurance to lapse during the final months of 2015 when she underwent major surgery and countless other tests and procedures. What could be a source of major stress for some seems to barely impact Tia, who looks at her situation positively.
“Honestly I try not to stress about the finances. I have been blessed beyond words with a support group that have been helping financially but in ways beyond that,” Tia said. “I pay amounts that I’m able, but right now my medical staff have been very supportive about getting me better!”
While her insurance situation is now sorted out and she’s back under coverage, Tia is facing significant medical bills from her time being uninsured. An online funding page has been set up to help her deal with these bills, but last week Tia also got a little help from her friends as her alma mater Concordia University Texas in Austin held a fundraiser in her honor.
Tia received her bachelor’s degree from Concordia in 1998 and a master’s degree in 2010. During her time at Concordia, Tia was a fixture at athletic events, her biggest love being basketball. She kept stats for the games, something she says she greatly enjoyed.
Knowing of her love for the school’s basketball programs, Concordia set the fundraiser up to happen during a day of basketball games at the campus. Between the women’s and men’s games, Tia was honored at half court with a ball signed by many players, faculty, and friends. She was also gifted with all the game-day admissions that had been gathered that day to help her pay medical bills and a chair with her name on it was revealed and will sit at the stats table in the gymnasium.
Tia said she was speechless when she found out about the fundraiser.
“Concordia is so much of my family and who I am! I felt their support and encouragement already. I had no idea what to expect, but words can’t express it,” Tia said. “It was perfect timing and exactly what I needed to finish my radiation sessions and start the chemo pill chapter. I’m so thankful for those that made that event what it was!”
As she moves into a new chapter of treatments, Tia shared some advice for others who may be fighting through serious illnesses.
“God is in control! The ultimate battle has been won,” Tia said. “I don’t wish physical sickness on anyone, but to those who are suffering, I pray they know they have a friend who loves them so much that they can find comfort knowing this is not forever!”
As she shared more about her situation, Tia said she’s thankful for all of the love and support she gets and is praying that the current round of treatments will kill the melanoma in her body. She said she’d love to be involved in keeping basketball stats again and looks forward to returning to work.
“Until then, I thank God for carrying me and all my friends and family who pray for me and visit me and transport me places!” Tia said.
If you’d like to donate to Tia’s online funding page you can find it at http://www.gofundme.com/tiabrady