By Angela Barbosa
Unexpected events can turn one’s life around 180 degrees. You make plans and prepare yourself to purchase a home, a new car, send children to college or take your family to a nice vacation spot, but one thing we are hardly prepared to face is the diagnosis of a terminal illness.
Marlipes Rodrigues, a Brazilian resident of Danbury, was diagnosed with an advanced stage of neck cancer in October of 2013. He has been battling cancer for the past two years, spending his days in radiation and chemotherapy sessions.
“For the past three months his condition has been degrading,” explained Ana Rodrigues, his former wife, who has been Rodrigues’ pillar during the difficult moments.
Ana and Rodrigues are neighbors. Every day before she leaves her house to go to work, she stops by his residence to organize his food, write down the list of medications he needs to take and make sure he is in good health, considering all the side effects of his treatment and his physical weakness.
One of the biggest challenges at that time, Ana explained, is to find help to care for Rodrigues during the hours she is working, from 9:30 am until 2 pm, and that their son, Victor, 17, who lives with Rodrigues, is in school.
“We are trying to get a nurse through the hospital, but it hasn’t been confirmed yet. Rodrigues does not talk anymore; he uses a notepad to communicate,” said Ana, adding, “If we can find a nurse who can volunteer to replace my son and I, it would be a blessing.”
Hospital bills are a concern as well as the liquid meal replacement product with the nutrients Rodrigues needs to take. According to Ana, on February 6, the “Academia do Bacalhau,” a Portuguese organization that hosts events to raise funds for people in need by partnering with restaurants that offer a menu with a discount, hosted a dinner at the Portuguese Cultural Center in Danbury to help Rodrigues with his medical bills. About 100 guests were in attendance.
“We have established an account for donations. So, if you feel compelled to help us cover the cost of his food, hospital bills and other expenses, you can visit http://www.gofundme.com/helpmebeatcancer to make a donation on behalf of Marlipes. Anything you can spare helps,” concluded Ana.