NewsLocal NewsPortage County News


Man with brain tumor missing chemotherapy treatments because he cannot get to doctor

Posted at 4:39 PM, Mar 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-22 10:10:27-04

RAVENNA, Ohio — If you're sick, you go to the doctor and get medicine. It sounds easy enough, but that's not the case for everyone.

A Ravenna man was young and healthy when he purchased catastrophic health insurance. Then, the unthinkable happened and now his family is desperate to get him to the doctor.

“Is there anybody out there who can help us get Bill out of bed and to these appointments,” said Loretta Reigelman.

Her son lays in her living room with an inoperable brain tumor.

Bill Gray, 29, hasn't seen a doctor in more than a month,and he's missed two rounds of chemotherapy.

“It’s not something that anybody should have to go through, and it's not easy,” said Gray.

Steroids have contributed to Bill's weight gain and the tumor has caused weakness on one side of his body.

Loretta Reigelman and her husband, Glenn Reigelman, are Gray's full-time caretakers and won't take the chance to lift him themselves.

“We’re afraid he'll go down and if he does we won't be able to get him back up,” said Loretta Reigelman.

They have a bed lift, a wheelchair, and a ramp that was just built by the kindness of strangers from the local Methodist church.

“Without that we wouldn't have any chance of getting him to any place and that has helped immensely,” said Glenn Reigelman.

“They came in and prayed over him too,” he said. “They were fantastic and we appreciate that."

But lining up a transport that’s covered by insurance has so far remained an unanswered prayer.

“I just want to help him and I don't know what to do,” said Loretta Reigelman.

Gray's size and the distance to his doctor are proving problematic.

His insurance only covers an oncologist an hour away in Cleveland.

“Everybody's been trying to find somebody that would be covered by his insurance and that seems to be one of the biggest problems,” she said.

Once Gray gets to the doctor, paying for the medication could be their next hurdle.

The cost of Bill's chemo pills rose to $2,000 a month this year.

The Reigelman's say they don't have that kind of money.

Loretta Reigelman wrote the drug maker to ask for help and says she got a promising response. She said she never fathomed it would all be this hard.

“I just feel helpless,” she said. “I don't know. I don't know what to do. A mom's always there to help their kids. To fix everything, and I can't fix this."

News 5 called an ambulance service approved by Gray's insurance. They cited his size, distance and manpower as barriers. News 5 then called and asked the hospital if they would be able to provide support on their end to help load and unload Gray -- and they said yes. The ambulance service said that would make it feasible for them to do the transport.

The family is now seeing if they can work something out.

In the meantime, Gray is still waiting for answers and treatment.

You can find his GoFundMe page here.