No insurance coverage and $256,000 uncomfortably lingers over Kari and Adrian Darimont, who need the money to pay for a bone marrow transplant.
“It’s a life saving treatment that I need in order to live,” said Kari.
Kari, 49, and her husband Adrian are the owners of Oracle Inn Steakhouse where they have been since July 2008. Working with a group of hard-working employees and having frequent regulars makes work a joy for the both of them. It wasn’t until the beginning of January that the Darimont’s found out Kari had Acute Myeloid Leukemia, which they had to temporarily leave the business in the hands of their two sons and daughter-in-law.
According to PubMed Health from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, AML is often found in older adults and one of the most common types of leukemia. It is a serious form of cancer where abnormal blood cells take over the healthy blood cells. Abnormal blood cells are most commonly linked to a person being exposed to chemotherapy, radiation, or problems in the genes.
“I wasn’t expecting this,” said Kari who lost two sisters and her parents due to different forms of cancer. “It’s scary.”
The pain started back in November 2011 when Kari noticed a lump appear under her breast. It wasn’t until after the holidays and more than one doctor’s appointment that she was diagnosed with leukemia.
“I remember that it just appeared over night on her,” said Adrian. “The pain escalated so much that she went on morphine for a week or so and then ended up in the emergency room.”
The National Cancer Institute estimates that 1 in 254 people will be diagnosed with AML. An estimated 11.8 percent of people are diagnosed with AML between the ages of 45 to 54.
Kari does chemotherapy once a month for a period of five to six days. She will continue to go in for chemotherapy until a bone marrow transplant can occur. The biggest problem that Kari faces is the $256,000 expense of the bone marrow transplant and the fact that her insurance will not cover any of it.
“I’m by her side all the time so I can’t work right now,” said Adrian. “It’s bad enough financially but then also having to go through all of this is very difficult.”
Kari remembers being shocked when she found out that a bone marrow transplant was an exclusion to the insurance policy.
“It’s just crazy to think that they won’t cover it,” said Kari. “This isn’t something you ever think will happen to you.”
Fundraisers, raffles, a spaghetti dinner and a car wash put on by a young 11-year-old girl has helped raise $40,000. The Darimont’s are extremely grateful and blessed by how the town of Oracle has helped support and pray for them.
“The town is this whole story. They have done so much, as well as my two sons and daughter-in-law,” said Kari. “It is absolutely amazing. It just absolutely floors ya.”
Two more fundraisers are planned for the month of May to help raise more money for what is called, the Kari Darimont Benefit Fund. On May 8, a silent and live auction will take place at the Oracle Inn. Reservations are $25 dollars, which includes a plated dinner. Items are still needed for the auction and donations are appreciated. Reservations and donations can be made by calling the Oracle Inn at 520-896-3333.
The second event is a golf tournament on May 12 at the El Conquistador on Lambert and La Cañada in Oro Valley. More details or questions can be answered by calling the Oracle Inn.
Donations can also be made to the Kari Darimont Benefit Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank and online at karidarimont.blogspot.com.
There is currently one potential donor and if enough money is raised, Kari could be in for the transplant in as little as six weeks. The Darimont’s are hoping the next two fundraisers and donations help reach $256,000 so that Kari can have the transplant as soon as possible.