PORTLAND – A woman who held a Christmas fundraiser to pay for her daughter’s surgery was shocked to find out she had raised just a bit too much money, and her daughter’s Social Security benefits were cut off.
Noelle Myers’ daughter Poppy was born with Apert Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that creates a host of skeletal problems. In Poppy’s case, that includes fingers that are fused together.
Just before Christmas, Myers held a fundraiser, selling Christmas Trees to help pay for surgery to separate Poppy’s fingers. The surgery was not available in Oregon, and state medical insurance would not cover the procedure.
Background: Christmas trees help pay for toddler's surgery
“We raised about $4,000,” Myers said. “It was above and beyond anything I could have ever imagined.”
It was enough money for the family to fly to Texas and meet with a specialist who said he could separate Poppy’s fingers.
But then they received a letter from Social Security, informing them that they were no longer eligible for benefits. Myers said the fundraising money ended up cutting them off from their only source of income.
She said she never thought the generosity of others would put her daughter in jeopardy.
“I had no idea you couldn’t have money for medical expenses that aren’t paid for by insurance,” she said.
“It’s one hoop after another to make sure we have a roof over our heads,” she added. “I’ve never been a complacent person saying, ‘Help me, help me.’ But this isn’t about me. This is about her future and her well being.”
Myers received the letter over President’s Day weekend and was unable for days to contact Social Security. She planned to meet with them Tuesday.
KGW Reporter Reggie Aqui contributed to this report.