MIDWEST CITY, Okla. - Laci Vaughan was diagnosed with a brain tumor the same day she lost her health insurance.
When she turned 26, she was no longer eligible to be on her parents’ insurance and she was told she didn’t qualify through the marketplace.
She and her friends were trying to raise $167,000 for a surgeon in Los Angeles to remove the tumor.
But a lot has happened over the last week, since NewsChannel 4 aired a story on Laci’s plight.
“It was a huge weight off my shoulders,” said Vaughan.
The day after our story aired, she got a message from the health insurance marketplace.
“It looks like there was an issue in your marketplace application that prevented you from enrolling in marketplace coverage. As a result of this error, you qualify for a special enrollment period to enroll in coverage,” said the message left on Vaughan’s cell phone.
And then she found a message from a neurosurgeon in Oklahoma City on her funding website.
“Dr. Sughrue at OU says that he’ll do your surgery and waive the fees and I was just like what, like overwhelmed, like started bawling because that’s all I could do. I was just so overwhelmed,” said Vaughan.
“I felt bad for her that she, you know, you have a 26-year-old that feels she has 60 days to live. I think she’s going to live a lot longer than that,” said Dr. Michael Sughrue, a neurosurgeon with the Stevenson Cancer Center.
Dr. Sughrue plans to perform the surgery on October 30th.
He says while it is a complicated surgery to remove a mass in this region of the brain, they perform it quite frequently.
Vaughan’s friend, Jessica Eubanks, has been helping her with fundraising.
“I didn’t realize it spread as much as it did,” she said.
Eubanks was shocked at just how widely the story was shared online.
Willie Nelson even shared it on his Facebook page.
“We’re beyond blessed that it’s gone as far as it has just from our two minutes on tv. It was amazing,” said Eubanks.
Vaughan is grateful she can now have the surgery here and won’t have to travel to Los Angeles.
“Somebody was like 'yeah I’m going to come see you in the hospital' and it was kind of like, it was overwhelming. Because I’ve been so prepared to not have anybody,” said Vaughan.
Vaughan is not sure if her insurance will kick in in time for the surgery.
Even though Dr. Sughrue is waiving his fees, she might still be responsible for hospital and anesthesia bills.
But she and her friends say that is a much more attainable goal to raise the money for that in comparison to the $167,000 dollars the surgeon in L.A. was charging.