Teacher with cancer says she will die without insurance - WSMV Channel 4

Teacher with cancer says she will die without insurance

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Joyce Hagar is battling cancer. (WSMV) Joyce Hagar is battling cancer. (WSMV)
TULLAHOMA, TN (WSMV) -

A special needs assistant teacher was let go after 17 years on the job.

Joyce Hagar said losing her job could end up costing her her life.

Without insurance, Hagar’s family said she cannot afford the cancer medication must take every day to stay alive.

"These pills, I have to take three of them every morning," Hagar said.

“(The doctor) said there is this new wonder drug that is a game-changer. With it, we don't know how long she can live, but we know that without it at this particular time she would not live more than a year and a half. This is a death sentence for her," said Richard Hagar, Joyce's husband.

Richard Hagar said that death sentence is not necessarily cancer, but his wife being told not to return to work.

"She has never had any bad marks in her personnel file, and now after 17 years it seems strange to me that she is out one year for 12 weeks for knee surgery, and now all of a sudden they don't renew her contract," Richard Hagar said.

For nearly two decades, Joyce Hagar would go to work at Jack T. Farrar Elementary School in Tullahoma where she was a special education teacher's assistant.

She was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia three years ago and had knee surgery this year.

"I'm just totally confused over the whole thing," Richard Hagar said.

Richard and Joyce said they were confused after receiving a letter from the school district saying she was not being renewed for the next school year and her benefits will end on July 31.

"Ten dollars is my co-pay now, but without insurance, it would be $13,000," Joyce Hagar said.

The Hagars told Channel 4 they cannot afford the difference in cost.

"We are at a loss. There is nothing we can do. I can't afford it. I am not going to go bashing anyone, but I am just begging you to change your mind," Richard Hagar said.

The Tullahoma City School District told Channel 4 there is a big difference between a termination and a non-renewal.

The director of schools said no one has been fired in his school district this past year, but annually there are between four and eight teachers or teacher's assistants who do not get renewed. 

Copyright 2017 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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