Woman Stuck in Alaska After Terminal Cancer Diagnosis

By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2017 10:48 AM CDT
Falling Gravely Ill on a Cruise, Woman Is 'Trapped' in Alaska
Nancy Greathouse is terminally ill and "trapped" in Alaska.   (GoFundMe)

A couple who left on a two-week "trip of a lifetime" to see mountains and glaciers in Alaska in late April is now stuck in a hospital in Anchorage. Nancy and Paul Greathouse, who married later in life, had both recently retired after working for 40 years. This was supposed to be a trip to celebrate that work, reports the Alaska Dispatch News. But Nancy, who is 71, nearly died from an autoimmune disease flare-up on the cruise ship, only to find out that she has terminal cancer and is too ill to fly home to Maryland. She already knows she'll have to miss her son's wedding in Vermont in August, but before she dies, the retired teacher says, "I want to see my grandchildren."

Nancy's son has set up a GoFundMe page to try to raise funding for an air ambulance home, and on Tuesday it surpassed its goal of $55,000. But the family says if they don't transfer her to Maryland by July 27, 2017, she'll use up her Medicare lifetime benefit and have no way to cover her terminal illness, reports ABC2. "We're panicking," she says, per ADN. The family does say they've found a lot of help in Alaska, notably from a Nazarene church in Anchorage. One member of the church has been feeding and housing Paul, others take turns driving him to the hospital each day, and the pastor picks him up at the end of the day. "I don't think we would have made it this far without them," Nancy says. (Cruises may soon be more dangerous.)

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