Twenty-six year old Louise Harder graduated from Oakland University about a year and a half ago and has her first "real" job; a professional salaried position. Louise was abused by Larry Nassar*, but found a way out. By starving herself, she didn't have to see him. She was sent to different doctors. Unfortunately her solution to the problem was costly; it was financially expensive and became life-threatening.
Louise has received treatment, met with dieticians, and been in therapy because she is determined to heal. It's been financially expensive with costs that had totaled $100,000 by the first of year. Thankfully her parents were savers and were able to cover most of the expenses by using her college fund and their savings. Louise said, "They've been a rock and covered about $85,000 of the costs." Louise was able to cover about $15,000 of the expenses herself.
When Michigan State University announced the MSU Healing Assistance Fund in January, Louise allowed herself to become cautiously optimistic, although she wondered if it was real ... if it was really possible that MSU would be willing to help her.
But fund representative Barbara Janelli assured her that the fund was real and that all expenses required to help her heal would be reimbursed. All she needed to do was submit the receipts for the services she received. For the first time, Louise didn't have to make trade-offs in terms of getting the therapy she needed vs. paying other bills associated with everyday life. Louise said that the money was great, but for her, what meant the most was someone saying, "You deserve this. We're going to give you the opportunity to heal."
And Louise was starting to heal! While the costs associated with her treatment were huge while she was in crisis, they've been decreasing and are down to about $4,000-5,000 per year now.
Unfortunately when the MSU Healing Assistance Fund was put on hold, Louise got nervous. She was back to worrying about how she would pay for her therapy ... while she was in the therapy. Her therapist has been able to help a bit by putting her on a sliding scale for payments, but the payments and uncertainty are back. Especially now that the fund has been cancelled.
Louise is back to wondering, worrying, and making difficult decisions. While telling her story, she used the word "budgeting" a lot. It's great when a young person understands the need to make trade-offs and tough decisions. But it's sad when those trade-offs include opportunities to heal because of broken promises.
More about Louise Harder
* From ages 16-18