Angels among us: Fundraising walk helps cancer patients pay their bills

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The view from Teresa Wright’s deck in suburban Harrisburg is beautiful, with lots of green space and an occasional roaming deer, turkey, fox or bear.

But a glimpse at Teresa’s medical chart is less appealing.

“I’m battling stage four colon cancer and stage two breast cancer,” Teresa said matter-of-factly.

She is in good spirits and says she feels fine despite a grim year. The breast cancer diagnosis came in February, followed by the colon cancer confirmation in May.

“You just go numb,” Teresa said of the moment the doctor said cancer. “I went totally mind numb. It was like no it’s not me. It didn’t happen to me. It’s somebody else.”

But it wasn’t. It was her and she’s endured two surgeries, chemotherapy, and testing. Teresa also lost her job, an added stress endangering the family’s fiscal health.

“I saw no way out,” Teresa said of her financial plight, “absolutely saw no way out. I told my husband that in six months or less we’re gonna be selling our home and having to go because there’s no way we’re gonna be able to catch these bills up.”

But then Teresa discovered an angel. His name was Mickey Minnich.

“They’re down and out and who are they gonna call?” asked Minnich, founder of Vickie’s Angel Foundation. “You call us. You’re not gonna get a line two. You’re gonna get a human voice.”

And you’ll get human compassion. Minnich understands. He lost his wife to cancer 14 years ago. He started the fundraising Vickie’s Angel Walk to honor her memory. In 14 years, he’s raised $2 million.

The money goes to food, rent, car payments, and whatever else cancer patients need. It is a unique mission. His fundraising doesn’t search for a cure to the various diseases. He’s helping to reduce the financial burdens on patients fighting physical burdens.

“We’ll be your bill payers,” Minnich said. “You focus on getting better. Attitude is important. Focus on getting better, let us worry about your bills. My God, you’ve given us hope, they say.”

The hope is funded by Vickie’s Angel Walk, which is Saturday. Minnich and scores of his volunteers spent Friday readying New Cumberland’s Borough Park. The program begins at 9 a.m. the walk starts at 10. Telephone polls in the borough have sprouted pink wings.

Don’t tell Teresa Wright that angels don’t exist. The foundation has been paying her mortgage to keep her in the house with the beautiful – and therapeutic – view.

“I cried like a 2-year-old,” Teresa said of receiving the news that Vickie’s Angel Foundation would help, no strings attached.

For Teresa, they were tears of joy – in a year with far too little of it.

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