Sunny Montoya seems like any adorable 3-year-old girl. But 18 months ago, she started eating dirt, sand and rocks…and lost interest in food. Her mom took her to the doctor to make sure she was ok. Sunny was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. This is a medical condition in which blood lacks sufficient, healthy red blood cells which carry oxygen to the body’s tissues and muscles. When there is insufficient iron in the blood, the body is unable to get adequate oxygenation. Symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, increased bruising and an irregular heartbeat.
In 2015, Sunny was referred to a hematologist at the Children’s Hospital Colorado. At the time, the family had catastrophic insurance coverage so they paid for the majority of Sunny’s medical care out of pocket until they were eligible for coverage through Sunny’s father’s employer. Sunny was transferred to Dr. John Van Doorninck of Rocky Mountain Pediatric Hematology & Oncology in January of 2016. Additionally, as her anemia had worsened, the decision was made for Sunny to undergo surgery for a port placement to receive weekly iron infusions. She has received 16 infusions to help increase her iron levels, which seemed to work. But after she was transitioned to oral medication, her levels dropped significantly and she may need to return to infusions.
The family is now facing extreme financial distress associated with Sunny’s medical care. Sunny’s father Carlos works as a project manager for a plumbing and mechanical company. Carrie, Sunny’s mother, stays at home to care for Sunny and her two siblings, 7 and 10 years old. Unfortunately, Sunny isn’t the only family member with a chronic hematology condition. Carlos also has a blood disorder and is treated monthly for polycythemia.
The Montoyas are in medical debt and are hoping to get onto a Medicaid Buy-in insurance plan, to better cover their family. But the program won’t retroactively cover the expenses already incurred. Caruso Family Charities has been asked to provide support as they continue to seek the medical care that Sunny requires.