DEAR MARY: I have been a fan for more than 15 years. Thanks to following your advice over the years, we have paid off our house, and we are currently two car loans from being completely debt-free. Recently my teenage daughter was diagnosed with carcinoid cancer, and the bills are piling up. We are having to travel back and forth to Vanderbilt hospital in Nashville, and we live in South Carolina. Do you know where we can get help with these expenses? There are only a few doctors that treat this kind of cancer. I appreciate your help and advice. Thanks, and God bless. — Barb, email
DEAR BARB: Take a look at “Local Organizations and Funds” (childrenshospital.vanderbilt.org/services.php?mid7786) at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital website. You’ll find many resources for families in your situation, including Jade’s Fund, which helps families of children undergoing cancer treatment at Children’s Hospital with everyday living expenses that typically fall behind when a child is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, requiring a parent to stop working. Hopefully these resources will help you hope and help as you face this challenging time. I am so sorry you are facing this challenge. My prayers are for your daughter’s soon and full recovery from this horrible disease. Thanks for being such a loyal follower.
DEAR MARY: I read in this column about Adella in Minn., whose daughter is looking for college scholarships and loans. I admire anyone who is working two jobs and getting a college education at the same time. Could you give her my email, if shed like to contact me? I am a member of a philanthropic organization that helps to empower women to get an education. She may qualify, and I’d love the chance to help her. Thanks for all you do. I’ve learned so much! — Bev, email
DEAR BEV: What a wonderful offer. I’ve forwarded your message and address to Adella, encouraging her to contact you. I hope that she does. I am impressed by your organization’s mission and would love to know more about it when you get an opportunity. Thanks for reaching out to this young woman and her mom.
DEAR MARY: It’s tax time, and it turns out that for the first time ever I will owe the IRS a lot of money. Should I use my savings to pay my taxes or is there a way to make payments without it being overly, well, taxing? I’ve been planning to use that money to pay off my high-interest credit cards. — Cheryl, Ohio
DEAR CHERYL: While the IRS claims to set up payment plans in certain situations, if there is any way you can avoid that, you should. The last person you want to owe money to is Uncle Sam. Trust me on this. Your taxes should take top priority. Then do whatever it takes (extreme measures as necessary) to immediately and quickly replenish your savings. This is not a lesson you want to ever have to learn again.