LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It's an epidemic all across the country even here at home. Many have to make the decision between paying their medical bills, buying their prescriptions or paying the mortgage and buying a meal.
Medical bills are the number cause of bankruptcy in the United States.
This week we Pass the Cash to a woman who has worked hard for more than 20 years to make everyone she meets feel good. Now, she is fighting for her life and fighting to pay her bills.
Our Pass the Cash nomination form took us south of the Gene Snyder Freeway on Bardstown Road and right to Erin Creed who told us all about Teri.
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"She is known as the singing and rhyming lady at the McDonalds. She worked there for over 20 years," Erin said.
Teri is a superstar at a McDonald's in Buechel. She takes every order with a song and a smile.
"She will repeat your order back to either rhyming or singing it," Erin said. "People move away and come back to that McDonalds to visit her."
But Teri is not there now.
"She has recently been diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. She was hospitalized in a medically induced coma," Erin said.
Teri is not working now, but we had $300 from WAVE 3 News, plus another $250 from George and Janice Lawson, an anonymous $20 and a handwritten letter and $6 from 9-year-old Aleks Weleski.
It all added up to a lot of love and $576.
We knew Teri would be home. She can no longer walk or move much on her own. When we arrived Teri's son Rex knew exactly who we are but still looked a little puzzled.
"I'm actually here to Pass the Cash," Erin explained. "I wrote a letter to Dawne Gee and she chose you guys."
From medical bills to the mortgage, Teri's family is struggling.
"It helps so much. We're worried about finding a wheelchair right now," Rex said.
Rex carries his mom right now when she must be moved. The cancer has made her so fragile and her voice so very soft. But Teri's spirit is as strong as ever. She proudly explained she sang to every customer.
Teri admitted they are struggling but there is not much she asked for except prayers and smiles.
It may be a dark time for Teri and her family but she chooses to bring her own sunshine.
"Gods got our back," Teri said.
Teri does have a GoFundMe page. For more information, click here.
Since 2011, WAVE 3 News has given away thousands of dollars to worthy recipients in our Pass the Cash segment. Click here to tell us about a Kentuckiana family or individual who you believe deserves a special gift of $300. (Be sure you are registered on wave3.com.) You cannot nominate yourself or a family member.