Valerie Craft, Willis, TX

Total eligible bills
$46,659
Provider discounts
$15,090
Total bills shared
$31,569

Most people who suffer the type of brain aneurysm I experienced do not survive, and those who live usually have lasting physical and mental debilitations.

On March 11, 2013, I was making breakfast when I felt in my head what can only be described as a popping and tearing sound. I turned off the stove and barely made it upstairs to my bedroom. I fell to my knees and shook my sleeping husband, Bill. Pounding, intense pain was quickly building inside my skull. In a short time I was semi-conscious.

Bill drove me to the emergency room, where medical staff quickly determined I had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke—a ruptured brain aneurysm.

The surgeons performed a coil thrombosis procedure, which created a platinum ball inside the balloon-shaped aneurysm. The procedure promotes blood clotting and prevents future episodes.

During surgery the doctor found another, smaller aneurysm that couldn’t be treated similarly. It posed a serious future threat; I would eventually need a stent in that artery.

The procedure was successful and I returned home after 12 days in the hospital. We didn’t have any health coverage at the time and were only able to cover the considerable cost by applying for grants.

After a few months of recovery, we called CHM to explain my condition and asked if the ministry would accept me as a member. We were told that I could be a member even with my health history and the CHM staff member explained the pre-existing conditions programs.*

Bill and I were very encouraged by the news because we were overwhelmed at the thought of large future medical expenses. We joined CHM’s Gold program and Brother’s Keeper in May 2014.

In 2016 we met with a neurologist and then with the hospital’s billing department to schedule the stent procedure. Though they weren’t familiar with CHM, when I explained the ministry they agreed to treat me as a self-pay patient.

I suffered a minor stroke during the procedure and my arm was still numb the next day, so I had follow-up surgery just to make sure I hadn’t developed blood clots. Everything was fine and the numbness quickly disappeared.

We received $50,000 in discounts on the hospital bill alone and CHM shared another $50,000 of my medical costs through its Gold schedule program for pre-existing conditions. The remaining balance exceeding the limit was listed on the Prayer Page in Heartfelt, the CHM monthly newsletter. Within a year, members had shared the remaining $31,500 through their voluntary Prayer Page donations—in the form of a check sent every month—so we could continue making payments on my bills.

Today I’m healthy and whole and my medical bills have all been paid!

What touched me the most, though, was how fellow members reached out to me through cards and letters while I was listed on the Prayer Page. I was moved to tears when I thought strangers cared enough to let me know they were praying for me and to make a donation toward paying my bills.

Thank you, CHM members, for your prayers and encouragement. You were the living expression of the Father’s love during the time I needed it most.

*Editor’s note: Christians living by New Testament principles are welcome to join CHM regardless of age, weight, health history or geographic region. To learn more, visit chministries.org/whocanbeamember. However, there are limitations on medical bill sharing for preexisting conditions. To learn more, see Guidelines Z and AA at chministries.org/guidelines.

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