By Liana Rivas –
Two weeks ago, twenty-eight year old, Brooklyn-based photographer Amelia Coffaro was diagnosed with stage III inflammatory breast cancer. Starting her chemotherapy on Valentine’s Day, Coffaro and her family faced another daunting challenge as the realization that she had no health insurance set in.
Stephen Mallon, a photographer who once employed Coffaro as his production coordinator intern, and six other of Coffaro’s peers, friends and coworkers, have joined forces and created Project Amelia. The donation-based fund aims to help her offset the cost of treatment. Coffaro, who is described by Mallon to be a “loving, caring, talented young photographer,” has “spent a great deal of time taking care of the photography community and volunteering for numerous humanitarian projects. Project Amelia was formed by many of the same professionals and friends that she has helped, interned with, and volunteered for in the past.” When the group found out the shocking news of Coffaro’s diagnosis and financial situation, Mallon says they immediately thought, “We got to get on this.” The project was launched on the same day as her first chemotherapy treatment.
The “60 weeks of necessary and already scheduled chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation treatment” have been estimated to set the family back anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000, Mallon states. Besides Project Amelia, Mallon says there is going to be “An online print sale from artists, including Amelia, along with a benefit auction planned for May.”
The Centers for Disease Control, CDC, report on their website that, alarmingly, 48.2 million Americans (currently 18% of the population) are uninsured. With the promise of Obamacare, many Americans are wondering when the benefits of the health insurance coverage can be utilized. Mallon says, “We are hoping that the Obamacare is going to close some of the gap, especially for emergency surgeries such as this. When you have a life-threatening disease, it has to be treated. But you also want the treatment to not bankrupt people.”
Sponsored by Shadowbox Shop, Fiber Ink Studio, B&H and innumerable volunteers, Project Amelia, one day shy of being a week old, has already raised $18,000 in less than a week, and aims to reach $100,000 by May 1st.
Mallon has a strong and determined disposition that is shared by his peers. He says, “We’re going to fight this.”
To donate to the cause, click here.
Images above are from Amelia’s work, Pretty Little Things , for more on the series, click here.