GREENSBORO, N.C. — Kelli Yam enjoys drawing people on her sketch pad as a hobby. Her detailed drawings are scattered throughout her living quarters inside of her Greensboro apartment.
There's one thing she would have never imagined drawing into her future.
She was diagnosed with Stage 1b breast cancer at the age of 21.
Stage 1b breast cancer which means small clusters of breast cancer cells are found in your lymph nodes. She couldn't believe the diagnosis, and she's still coming to grips with it each and every day.
"Why me, you know? I`m only 21. This doesn`t happen to 21-year-olds. I can barely pay my bills. Now I have to worry about this as well," said Yam.
Kelli knows her journey ahead will be a difficult one especially when it comes to financing her cancer. She has a job and health insurance, but she chose a different insurance plan before her diagnosis.
"Treatment is expensive but I need it," said Yam. "I choose the high deductible because I thought I didn't need to go to the doctor that much, so now I haven't reached my $3,000 deductible and now I'm paying for things in full."
She has support from her friends and family, however financially they can only do so much, especially after her father was injured from a stray bullet that hit him during a festival in Charlotte, paralyzing him five years ago. Kelli's dad has recovered well but figuring out a way to pay for medical expenses is a struggle.
She started a GoFundMe page to hopefully get support for her upcoming and future medical expenses.
Kelli is remaining positive while believing she will win her fight against cancer. She says, even though this is tough and dealing with the unknown is scary, she wants to encourage others to pay attention to their bodies.
"If you`re worried about something, to get it checked out. Don`t hesitate to ask for help," said Yam.
Yam has to undergo two more biopsies this week after doctors discovered two more lumps were found in her right breast.