This wasn't a letter sent to "Savage Love," but I don't think the author will mind my posting it as the "Savage Love" letter of the day.
The good news, direct from the team of skilled doctors on her case, is that the cancer is curable. However, the treatment plan that gives Kate the best chance of beating cancer is incredibly expensive. Kate has spent the past thirty years helping the rest of us Stay Alive—now it’s our turn to give back. Let’s HELP KATE BORNSTEIN BEAT CANCER AND STAY ALIVE!
This August, Kate was diagnosed with lung cancer. She underwent surgery, after which extensive testing led her doctors to believe that the cancer was gone. However, in February, Kate’s doctors discovered that this was not, in fact, the case. The cancer was back. Since receiving this news, Kate has seen numerous talented physicians and other medical professionals. The consensus is that Kate’s cancer IS CURABLE. However, Kate’s treatment plan is more complicated than most because she has suffered from another kind of cancer—CLL, or Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia—for over fifteen years. Kate will undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment. She will eat according to strict nutritional diet plan and she will take a large number of supplements that will strengthen her body’s ability to handle the chemo and radiation.
This is the treatment plan is Kate’s best—and only—chance at survival. However, it is also exceptionally expensive. While Kate does have health insurance, she must pay the very high deductable, make high monthly insurance payments, and make co-payments for doctor visits and prescriptions. Also, Kate has to travel to the hospitals that are best suited to administer her unique treatment plan. Right now, this means going to Chicago five times over the next two months for chemotherapy. In the coming months, she may also have to travel to San Diego and Texas for additional treatment. Luckily, Kate will undergo radiation therapy in New York City, where she lives, but because of her weak immune system, she will have to take cabs to and from the hospital five days per week for at least two months. Additionally, insurance does not cover the high cost of the supplements that her doctor insists are an integral part of her treatment plan.
During the course of her treatment, Kate’s immune system will be seriously compromised, she will be exhausted, and she will experience periods of extreme nausea. As a result, her doctors have insisted that Kate take a hiatus from work-related travel, speaking engagements, performances, and even writing. For the next eight to ten months, Kate will be undergoing treatment and recovering from cancer, so she will not be able to work. This means that Kate will have no way to pay for rent, utilities, food, pet care, or any other normal expense. So, not only does Kate have to worry about paying her medical bills, she also has to worry about paying her basic living expenses.
This is where we come in. Kate’s work—her books, lectures, performances, apps, and online presence—has helped countless people choose life instead of suicide. Kate’s efforts have literally saved thousands of lives. Now, it’s time for all of us to save the life of just one person: Kate Bornstein. Through our donations, each of us has the power to give Kate our thanks, to be there for her in this difficult time, and to help her save her life.
Please join me in donating whatever you can to help Kate beat cancer and STAY ALIVE.
Kate Bornstein is amazing women and I consider her a friend. She has been a frequent and valued guest expert in "Savage Love." She has also contributed some terrific pieces to the Stranger's annual Queer Issue. Terry and I loved Kate's contribution to the "It Gets Better" project so much that we made it final essay in the book. We wanted Kate to have the last word.
Kate has been out there fighting to make it better for queer kids—trans, lesbian, gay, bi, genderqueer, and even the straight ones—for a long time. She has saved countless lives. Now it's our turn to help save Kate's life.