May 30, 2019 CancerLINC NEWS

Attorney's Weekend Visit Makes Lasting Difference for Couple

Despite being married for 18 years, neither Debra Roberts nor her husband, James E. Roberts III, had a will. 

In March, when Mr. Roberts developed a stomach ache that lasted two weeks, he was admitted to the hospital.  The Roberts never expected that the pain would lead to a Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer diagnosis. 

While he was undergoing tests, Mrs. Roberts began searching for information that could help educate the couple about his diagnosis.  She came across a brochure for CancerLINC in the cancer consultation room at Regional Memorial Hospital and read about the legal assistance and financial advising services that CancerLINC provides to cancer patients and their families.

When Mr. Roberts was released, the couple decided to call CancerLINC  so they could plan for the future in light of the diagnosis.  They were glad they did.

Mrs. Roberts talked with Client Services  Coordinator Gloria Cooley who conducted an intake.  Ms. Cooley sent out an email to the Roberts after they were accepted as clients, that said it might take a little time to hear back from an attorney, but in an hour she called back, and said Sharon Ten at Bowen, Ten and Cardani had agreed to take their case, Mrs. Roberts said.  “We were able to make an appointment within a week to talk to her about power of attorneys, wills and advance medical directives.”  

Although Mr. Roberts diagnosis was serious, both he and his wife expected that he still had weeks, if not months to live, Mrs. Roberts said.  “My husband was progressively getting worse, but he was able to make our Monday morning appointment. We worked on both Jimmy’s will and my own, and all of the power of the attorneys and medical directives for both of us.”  

Attorney Ten was very thorough, Mrs. Roberts added.  “It was a very good meeting.  We were able to discuss a lot of things in advance so we kind of knew the answers to the questions she was asking because of the paperwork they

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had provided.”  Two days later her husband was admitted to the VCU Massey Cancer Center, and they had to miss their appointment to finish the follow up paperwork.

Attorney Ten told her that if her husband was in the hospital for more than a couple of days, she would come to them.  “I thought that was fantastic,” Mrs. Roberts said.  “Far above and beyond the call of duty.”

By Thursday, Mrs. Roberts said that she knew her husband, who was scheduled for surgery the next day, was going to be in the hospital for a while.  Attorney Ten came to the hospital on Saturday to help Mr. Roberts complete his paperwork.  Sadly Mr. Roberts unexpectedly passed away the following Monday, 31 days after his cancer diagnosis.  Without a will, Mrs. Roberts financial situation would have been dramatically different. 

Mrs. Roberts said she is grateful that the law firm worked quickly to help them with the legal documents.  “I contacted them to let them know Jimmy had passed, and how grateful that I was that they didn’t wait until he got out of the hospital because it would have been a nightmare for me.”

She is grateful to CancerLINC, and especially Attorney Ten. “She’s been very gracious with her time with me, and I’m so thankful …  She graciously advised me on what to do and not to do, and on things I was not aware of.  I learned a lot of things that I have been passing along to some of my friends as far as a will is concerned."