Medical issues break local family's budget

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Ceasar and Miriam Lopez are struggling after she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

A medical issue tipped the Lopez household budget into negative territory, but the Galax family can get back on track with a little help on two utility bills.
Ceasar Lopez said his wife Miriam recently had complications from her benign-but-growing brain tumor.
Though Miriam had a large tumor removed in 1985, the problem reoccurred in 2007, Ceasar said. Doctors have been watching it and noted the tumor has grown by one millimeter since last check.
Lopez spread two fingers about two inches apart to show big the tumor is now.
The complication involves the tumor effecting Miriam’s inner ear and throwing off her balance, he said.
One day, Miriam started having vertigo and got to a point where she couldn’t even sit up. She continues therapy locally to recover her balance.
Miriam stayed at a hospital in Roanoke while neurologists and surgeons decided what to do about the brain tumor, and the circumstances sapped the Lopez’s resources.
“Our situation is this: our income is limited,” he said. “We receive SSI every month and, unfortunately for us, the situation we had is me and my daughter stayed in Roanoke for 10 days with my wife...”
Lopez also had to drive back and forth between Galax and Roanoke several times to take care of responsibilities at home. That and expenses like buying meals while in Roanoke temporarily broke the family’s budget.
“I had to overdraft my account,” he said.
After that, Lopez said he came up short for the city water and sewer bill and the electric bill.
“It threw the budget out the window,” he said. “I mean, I got all the bills covered but those two. I’m trying to see if somebody out there can help us with this one-time situation.”
He’s approached churches, but so far has been unable to find any assistance. “I don’t want money. I just need the help.”
Lopez would be happy to have any benefactor pay the utility bills directly to the city or Appalachian Power. Those bills total about $306. “That will put me back on track and next month we’ll be alright.”
The water bill can be paid at the city office by giving Lopez’s name.
For more information about helping the Lopez family, call (276) 237-3925.
“I would be most grateful if anyone could help us with our situation,” he said.