Summers County toddler battles cancer, 'broken' health care syst - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Summers County toddler battles cancer, 'broken' health care system


BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVVA) A Summers County mother always thought the words "your child has cancer," was the worst sentence she could ever hear. Little did she know, her nightmare was only beginning.

Burgandy Sampson of Hinton said it all started almost as son as her son, C.J., was born. One eye, she recalled, was bigger. After going to a couple different pediatricians, she said it was a doctor in Princeton who finally sent her to Morgantown. 

"If we hadn't gone for the next opinion, the cancer would have spread." 

In Morgantown, Sampson learned her son has Retinal Blastoma, a rare cancer of the eye. She said the hospital immediately referred C.J. to a hospital in Cleveland for surgery as there were no eye cancer specialists in West Virginia. When she returned home, she said her son's Medicaid insurance would not cover the cost -- leaving the single mom with a $300,000 bill. 

"They called us on Tuesday and canceled the follow-up appointment because West Virginia medicaid will not pay for it," said C.J.'s grandmother, Beckie Sampson. 

Instead, C.J.'s mother and grandmother said they were informed Monday that Medicaid will cover the cost of another surgery needed on the second eye and chemotherapy but only in Cincinnati, Ohio. The cost of the first surgery, she said, would not be covered.

"When you're daughter's growing up, there's things that you can fix. You can help them through bad haircuts, broken hearts, and friends talking about them. But there's nothing you can do to help them through something like this," said Beckie Sampson. 

The family said they plan to pursue the Cincinnati option, where C.J. will have to stay for chemo. Anyone interested in helping them with travel expenses or just to send prayers may visit:

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