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‘How can I pay my bills?’ Single mother faces unexpected challenges after son diagnosed with leukemia

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 7:11 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX)-- During February’s winter storm, 9-year-old Michael Dixon began experiencing unusual pains in his legs.

His mother, Chaundra Dixon, at the time thought it was a cold, the flu, or perhaps COVID-19.

But the diagnosis was leukemia.

“I had a cousin who had it and he died,” said Michael.

“So when I found out I had it, I thought I was going to die.”

His mother, a single parent, immediately became his full-time care giver helping him through his chemotherapy and taking him to dozens of doctor’s appointments a week.

Michael’s doctors said he will need full-time care for at least a year during which his mother won’t be able to work.

“The doctor telling me ‘you cannot work’. Those words hit me,” Chaundra Dixon said.

“Because it’s like ‘how can I pay my bills? I have other babies,’” she said.

Dixon is currently on 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave and has already used up her other paid time off options.

She said although she never planned to be in this situation, she is using it as an opportunity to advocate for other single parents in a similar situation, many of them forced to rely on donation sites like GoFundMe to pay the bills while their children fight for their lives.

She says she plans to approach Killeen city leaders about an idea to create a daycare specifically for sick children.

“If they had a center where single parents are still able to work and their kids are cared for in good hands maybe with oncology on call or right there at the center, doctors, nurses,” Chaundra Dixon said.

Dixon has created a GoFundMe page to help with the medical bills and to keep the bills at home paid too.

She said her hope is to use part of the GoFundMe money to jumpstart her dream of a daycare specifically for sick children.

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