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Waiting in faith for a miracle

An account has been set up for the Davis family at Washington Mutual bank
by: Jaime Valdez, HAVING FAITH — Shana Davis views her family, daughter Alexus, 9, and husband of 18 years David, as her support team. In August, Shana had a brain tumor removed.

TUALATIN - It was a heart stopping moment. David Davis could clearly see it. It had been responsible for his wife Shana's fatigue, her inability to focus mentally and her dizzy spells which turned out to be seizures. It was a tumor - larger than a golf ball but smaller than his wife's eyeball. The brain tumor, diagnosed as glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM, was prevalently displayed on Shana's MRI results.

'This is where the real stress begins because I can see it, and I can't get a hospital to take her in,' David said still remembering the ominous look of the mass in his wife's head.

The Davis family has no health insurance.

In order for an office to take Shana in just for the MRI, the Davis family had to pay $100 up front and promise to pay the remaining $1,200 for the service.

'My only source of frustration has been the system. The people are good. It's the system that's designed to defeat you,' David said. Each step in Shana's illness, from surgery to treatment, has been a struggle. David has spent hours on the phone talking with the business side of hospitals, filling out financial-aid applications and researching his wife's illness and possible treatments.

Shana had surgery to remove her tumor at Oregon Health and Science University Hospital in August. The hospital wasn't the family's first hope.

David filled out applications with two local hospitals, asking if a biopsy procedure could be done at a discounted cost. He waited a few days before finally taking his wife to OHSU's emergency room, at which time she was admitted.

David has yet to hear back from either of the first two hospitals he applied to. He shook his head in disbelief at how his wife has been treated because they have no insurance.

While OHSU has provided discounted costs for some services, the cost for surgery, numerous ER visits and for Shana's treatment has put the family's medical bills at about $100,000.

But for David, the bills are the last things on his mind.

'My worry is just keeping things going. Don't let it stop,' David said referring to the struggles in finding financial aid for treatment, including radiation and chemotherapy.

Although, David was pleasantly surprised when the Schering Company, producers of the chemotherapy pill Temodar, agreed to provide Shana with one month's worth of the pill for free. The cost would have been more than $7,000 for the treatment.

David and Shana want good things for their family. The couple has a 9-year-old daughter, Alexus. David and Shana are both students. Shana is pursuing a teaching degree, and David is studying for a business management/marketing degree.

David was once the vice president of a small but 'promising company' in Wilsonville. He made 'good money' and had good benefits complete with health coverage. However, after Sept. 11, 2001, the business folded. He applied for similar positions at other area companies but found most business required a business degree. Instead he took on lower paying jobs and decided to go back to school to get that degree.

David said he will likely drop out this semester to take care of Shana. Doctors have said that her tumor has a 100 percent chance of returning and a 100 percent chance of being fatal. But Shana and David absolutely do not believe the diagnosis.

'I have told every doctor,' Shana said, pausing to position her finger in the air. 'I pointed my finger at them and told them, 'I don't believe you. I believe Jesus has our date in his book.''

Stan Russell, senior pastor at Grace Community Church, has been a pillar for the Davis family in the past two months.

'They're a great inspiration to me,' Russell said.

Grace Community Church has rallied behind the Davis family helping with house cleanup and bringing prepared meals and anything else the family might need. Last Sunday a second offering at the church brought in $20,000 to help the family deal with its financial issues.

An account has been set up for the Davis family at Washington Mutual bank. The account number is 3131483244.

Russell and other family friends all noted David and Shana's demeanor in talking about their situation. They calmly discuss the facts, the diagnosis and their faith.

David feels as though the family has been treated as a burden on the medical system rather than a family with an illness. But despite that, David and Shana believe their struggles have a purpose.

'I believe this is happening for a reason,' Shana said.