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Case of the Month
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Case of the Month

Cat with Heart Problem Helped by Angel Fund

Cat with Heart Problem Helped by Angel Fund

One day last January, Julia Bravo took her beautiful black and white cat Lance to her veterinarian.  The animal had what she described as “minor wounds” on his back and appeared to have a respiratory problem – a cold, she thought.

“The vet [Dr. Mary Chung at Little Tokyo Pet Clinic] told me that the reason he is breathing that way is because he has heart problems,” she said in an interview.  “She recommended a diagnostic test to assess what she diagnosed as a III/V heart murmur.” She also said that he needed an anesthetic dental cleaning to treat periodontal disease.

The bill for the cat’s treatment – his full name is Sir Lancelot – was much more than Julia, who lives in Section 8 housing with her family, could afford.  “We were living paycheck to paycheck and there was no income to help pay for his treatment,” she said.  Julia’s income provides the primary support for the family.

The hospital suggested seeking help from Angel Fund.  Julia agreed.  With assistance from the clinic, she applied and was granted $500, a sum matched by the hospital.  

After the grant was approved – “it took a week or so,” Julia said – Lance was treated.  “It meant the world to me,” she said.  “I am grateful.  It has helped both me and Lance – he has a chance to live longer and to stay with me for a long time.  Thanks, Angel Fund!”

Lance will be on medication for his heart for the rest of his life.  “But he is a fighter and he is a playful and loving fury child of mine,” Julia said. 

The animal came to Julia and her family as a young stray a few years earlier.  “He was badly nourished and he had a broken paw,” she said.  There was a period of adjustment for both Lance and her household but he soon became a beloved family member.

“At first, he was afraid of us and he hid in hard-to-reach places under furniture.  He eventually came out to eat the food we brought him and my brother and sister took him to the vet [to treat his broken paw]. 

“My family is five adults – my parents, my brother and sister and myself.  My father and brother and me work.  But since my brother is younger and is going to college, we don’t ask him to help with any of the bills.  He has to pay for his college needs.  My father works based on how much [work] is available.  He doesn’t get paid by the hour like my brother and me and he barely makes enough to get by. 

“I work two to three jobs at a time to keep up with the household bills.  It’s difficult but we get by.”

Julia is now working at an Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken restaurant and a Panera Bread restaurant.   She expects to be working soon at a Kaiser Permanente cafeteria.

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