As part of our Bearing Witness 2.0 project, the Huffington Post is rounding up compelling local stories about the victims of the recession.
Fourteen-year-old Brendan Staub of St. Louis County, Mo., may max out his insurance policy before doctors even figure out what's wrong with him. For the past six years, Staub has had frequent seizures because of a strange neurological disorder that doctors cannot diagnose. He receives regular treatment at the Mayo Clinic -- which comes with a $15,000 price tag every three weeks. If that keeps up, he will reach the $1.5 million limit on his health insurance policy within two years, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Christine Byers. He has already used about $1.1 million.
Brendan's treatment already costs his family about $1,000 out-of-pocket. To help the Staubs deal with the expense, friends and family have started Brendan's Buddies, a foundation to help Brendan and other children with neurological disorders. They have raised about $80,000 so far, according to the Post-Dispatch.
Some bowling alleys in Arizona will start offering things besides strikes and gutterballs: a chance for the unemployed to find jobs. Rusty Hanna, the district manager of two bowling alleys in Kingman and Lake Havasu City, Ariz., is going to host weekly job fairs at his lanes starting in February, where job-seekers and prospective employers can come together to bowl a few frames for free, reports the Kingman Miner's James Chilton. Local employers will get to know the applicants on a more casual level, and bowling will remove the pressure of more formal job fairs.
Hanna originally instituted the idea at a few bowling alleys he managed in Battle Creek, Mich., earlier this year. "It was originally going to be a bowling program for the unemployed for three hours a week to just kind of forget their woes and have some good times on us," he said, but then Hanna contacted a local workforce development office and "it just exploded into something I never imagined."
Families across California are scrimping to send their children to college as the state hikes fees. Carla Rivera reports for the Los Angeles Times that Berenice Vite and Rafael Curiel have missed three house payments so that they could pay the bill to keep sending their son, Alonso, to school at California State University, Long Beach. Curiel recently lost his job at a medical equipment firm, and has had two surgeries on his shoulder this year.
"I was raised learning about the importance of education, and I want my children to be educated," said Vite, who works for the Los Angeles Unified School District. "But we don't know if we're going to have a house or not." They have applied for a mortgage modification, but have yet to be approved. Meanwhile, Alonso's next tuition payment is due this week.
In Kure Beach, N.C., the local community is rallying around a family who are struggling with illness and unemployment, reports Amanda Hutcheson for the Star News . Wendy Pate was diagnosed with cervical cancer earlier this year, which has since spread to her liver. Her husband, Brad, lost his job and has been staying at home to care for his wife and their two-year-old son.
The Town Clerk, Kaysie Pralle, has helped raise over $1,500 for the Pates. "Hopefully they'll get their miracle; that's what we all hope for," Pralle told the Star News. "Anything that this family can get is well deserved."
HuffPost readers: Seen a compelling local story? Have a neighbor going to bizarre lengths to get through the recession? Tell us about it! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.