One time when Paul Porter was working with Kesha Monk at WRKS (98.7 FM) and he ran short of cash, Monk drove over to his place with $250 to bail him out. That’s the spirit, he says, in which he is now rallying Monk’s friends to an urgent cause: raising the money she needs to fight stage III colon cancer.
Monk, midday host on Emmis’ Kiss-FM from 2001 to 2008, was diagnosed in November after almost five months of doctors telling her nothing was wrong.
She had surgery and is starting to recover at her home in North Carolina, where she, her husband and their children moved after she couldn’t find another radio gig in New York, reports the NY Daily News: “So she’s between jobs, which happens a lot in the radio business. The dagger here is that she is without health insurance.”
She’s looked everywhere in the system for coverage, she told the paper, but has found nothing. Even though she’s debilitated from biweekly chemotherapy, she has no appetite and throws up constantly. North Carolina Medicaid says that because she could sit at a desk, she’s employable and therefore doesn’t qualify for disability coverage.
“Everyone tells me one of the most important things is staying positive,” she says. “And I’m a positive person. But it’s hard when you’re running up bills you can probably never cover. When I got out of surgery, still under the drugs, hospital people were at my bedside asking me how I was going to pay.”
“I need six months of chemo,” she says. “The bill for the first treatment was $20,000. How am I going to do this?”
After she left Kiss-FM, she co-hosted Randy Jackson’s syndicated countdown show. When that ended in 2010, her health coverage ended, too. So when she started feeling abdominal pain in early 2011, she put off seeing the doctor.
“When you have no insurance,” she says, “you just hope it will go away.”
That’s not an option now.
“I’m a fighter,” she says. “But this is rough. I have no strength. I throw up all the time. I’m losing my hair. I’m still in pain from the surgery.
“My husband does a fantastic job of being a caretaker. But this is hard on your family, too, and I have a lot of guilty feelings over being dependent on him for everything.”
Her goal, she says, “is to get well and get back to work.”
When that could happen, she and the doctors don’t know.
To help Kesha, friends can go to http://apps.facebook.com/fundrazr/activity/5c3d0d63f9154b749263baf20fc95a3a%20