Debbie Richards – Medical


Debbie Richards is truly one of the most genuinely positive and kind people on the planet. A lifelong Des Moines-area native, she’s a wonderful mom to her daughter Ellie and was a loving partner to her beloved Jerry who passed away in late December 2022. Debbie was diagnosed with Stage 3 aggressive and high-grade bladder cancer in fall 2021. She underwent two surgeries to try to remove the cancer, but not her bladder. She had a series of chemotherapy treatments in the first few months of 2022 that shrunk the tumor dramatically, but by the time surgery was scheduled to remove it, it had grown back larger than before treatments and had spread to surrounding lymph nodes. In May 2022, she had surgery to remove her bladder and affected lymph nodes, but unfortunately had a complication that sent her into the hospital for a couple of weeks. Three months after the bladder removal and reconstruction surgery, an oncology scan showed the cancer had returned in three lymph nodes at the base of her spine near the area where her bladder had been. Additional surgeries are not recommended, but Debbie did begin immunotherapy treatments in fall 2022, and continues those today.

Unfortunately, Jerry’s health started rapidly declining in summer 2022 and he required around-the-clock care costing $1,660 per week for a home health aide’s assistance. Debbie decided to retire early on Dec. 8 to take care of Jerry. She truly feels it was a blessing to get to spend his final weeks with him – Jerry passed away from complications related to RSV on Dec. 21, 2022. Debbie didn’t have much time to grieve the loss of Jerry. In February 2023, she spent a few weeks in the hospital after emergency surgery to repair a ruptured intestine and treat sepsis. When she was discharged from the hospital in early March 2023, she weighed just 80 pounds and required home health care as she could barely stand.

 She receives immunotherapy every three weeks at John Stoddard Cancer Center, and while the tumors have shrunk quite a bit, the hope now is that they don’t grow and don’t spread. Debbie fatigues easily and cannot work. Medical bills and other everyday expenses are mounting, and she could use any bit of help.

Debbie has worked hard all her life and has had to sacrifice financially to support her family. Her health condition forced her to retire early before she was financially secure enough to retire comfortably. Because she is unable to work, Debbie is unable to pay her monthly expenses which include regular medical bills and her mortgage. With her current situation, she is likely going to need to sell her home and move in with a family member. Debbie’s biggest wish is that she would be able to stay in her townhouse and enjoy living her remaining life independently without needing to burden her loved ones. If you would like to help bless Debbie and make a donation to her, the funds will go toward paying her bills and mortgage so she can accomplish her wish of staying in her home.”


* All Donations are the property of Helping Hands Ministries and to be used at the discretion of Helping Hands Ministries.