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May 15, 2014

Holding on to hope: Benefit to raise money for Corydon woman with brain tumor

CHARLESTOWN — Against all odds, Teryn Applegate is adamant that she will not give up hope for survival.

The 27-year-old mother of three, who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor that has been growing behind her left temple at least a year, was given six months to live. That was in December.

Applegate and her fiancé, Corey Simon, have spent the last four months trying to get on an insurance plan to cover medical costs and radiation that could possibly shrink her tumor. Both the federal Affordable Care Act and Medicaid have denied the couple, claiming that they are ineligible for coverage.

“So it’s kind of like up in the air, but I’ve done everything I could, and I’m not eligible [for Medicaid],” she said. “That’s kind of what’s slowed everything down, is the insurance.”

The Applegate Family Emergency Medical Fund Benefit and Auction, at the Charlestown V.F.W. on Saturday from 4 p.m. to midnight, will help Applegate and Simon raise some money in the meantime.

The event will have a live auction and entertainment by The Paul Boggs Band, Phil N the Blanks and Mickey Perkins and the Kentuckiana Band. Admission is $5 per person.

“We just plan on having a good time on Saturday,” Simon said.

Applegate’s only good chance for life is a new technology called CyberKnife that delivers a concentrated dose of radiation — a chance she’s been fighting for since her diagnosis.

“If there is nothing else, it’s my kids,” said Applegate, a Corydon resident. “I can’t imagine not being able to see them graduate or get married or even see my grandchildren.”

CyberKnife radiation, which only requires three to five treatments instead of the typical 36 weeks, could prolong her life and possibly shrink the tumor, Simon said.

Applegate suffered from unbearable migraines for about six months leading up to the day of her diagnosis.

“I was going to the ER every night,” she said. “If it wasn’t every night, it was every other night, just to get some relief.”

Before then, she had been having chronic migraines since 2005, and doctors think that the tumor could have formed then, based on its large size today.

Her fiancé, the father of Applegate’s youngest child, 20-month-old Gracelynn, said that receiving the news of the tumor was difficult for both of them.

“When we first found out and given the diagnosis, she was in a state of shock,” Simon said of Applegate, who was sleeping a lot. “I just tried to keep her up and keep her going.”

Simon is helping in any way he can — whether it’s keeping track of doctor appointments or caring for Gracelynn and Applegate’s two other children, David, 12, and Dylan, 10.

“It’s been really hard,” Simon said. “It’s taken a lot of me trying to step in and keep everything together.”

Applegate said she has been coping the best she knows how — faith in God, kind words from friends and family.

“It hasn’t been easy. I cry myself to sleep sometimes. I talk to friends,” she said, pausing. “I don’t know.”

Simon said he will care for all three children should the worst happen.

“I can’t imagine losing her, so I’m doing everything I can to help push it along, do what we can,” he said.

Applegate, who had her first two children when she was in her teens, sees a silver lining.

“I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason,” she said. “... It makes me think that if something does happen, I did have kids at a young age and I was able to see my kids grow up somewhat.”

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08_01_back_to_school_1w.jpg

Students of Ms. Kitzmiller's first grade class sing and dance in the gymnasium at Grant Line Elementary before heading to their classroom to begin the school year Thursday morning in New Albany.

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