News Photographer Loses Home
by Bill Stephens, Vice President of News Operations | Metro News Network | 1 April 2019 | 6:00 a.m. CT
McHENRY, IL - My time has run out. I am going to officially lose
my home sometime this year.
Why, you ask? It’s a long, but
interesting story. You see, in July of 2013, I suffered a heart issue
that required open heart surgery and a quintuple bypass. Anybody that
has gone through this surgery or even knows anyone who has; recovery
can take six months until you are back to normal or at least
If you are self-employed like myself,
all of your income also stops. So your savings should get you through
if you have enough saved. In my case it did get me through, however
again being self employed I did lose customers, people who I always
treated like family. I was always there for them. Sadly, I learned
loyalty didn't go both ways.
During my heart recovery, I
started to have other symptoms that took another five months to
diagnose. I had bladder cancer, treatable with surgery. So, under the
knife I went again. It was not just once, but twice within 10 weeks
of each other. The second surgery was to be sure they got it all. The
next three months was spent doing light duty with no heavy lifting
which caused me to lose even more clients.
At this point, it's August 2014 and money is tight. Survival is
becoming an issue. I petitioned my mortgage company for a deferment
to “pause” my mortgage until I got back on my feet. Instead, they
filed for a modification and then summarily denied it. This is just
one of the many games the banks play. I spent 2015 recovering
from the effects of the surgeries and trying to rebuild my business.
Then, in 2016 the cancer reoccurred – another two surgeries. This
time I underwent multiple scopes to check the progress and success of
those latest surgeries. Once they determined they got it all this
time, I was scheduled for BCG chemo. It required eight weekly visits
of having chemicals injected into my bladder to trigger my immune
system to kill off anything that is left. This chemo was performed
three times over the entire year 2017.
No 'Light at the End of the Tunnel' for Popular Photojournalist
In January of 2017, I
applied for a program called Illinois' Hardest Hit. This program is
designed to help people that get behind on their mortgage payments
due to hardship, illness, etc. They agreed to grant funds to bring my
mortgage current. When Illinois' Hardest Hit contacted the mortgage
company to transfer funds, my mortgage company refused the funds and
have been refusing funds to bring my mortgage current ever since. Of
course, this kept getting me further behind making it virtually
impossible to get out and ahead of the debt.
Last night I
opened my email from my foreclosure attorney notifying me that they
and I had run out of motions, etc. It also stated I now have around
90 days to leave my home of 30 years; the home I raised my children
in after their mother died. While the kids are now grown, I feel it
is important to have someplace they can always call home. This will
now be lost. I also work out of my home – my office is here and
being that I am alone here now making a move of this magnitude may
put the final nail in my proverbial coffin for the business.
am 62-years-old. I'm in poor to fair health. How in the world do I
start over? It will take at least 250K to save what I have built for
30 years. Where do I turn. Why should anyone in this country lose
their home because they became ill?
Note: We have started a “Go-Fund-Me”
Page to offer you and others that care an opportunity to help Bill in
anyway possible. Thank you for visiting this link to donate.
Bill Stephens was able to find another place to live, but he now
rents and no longer owns his dwelling. Fortunately his location is
still within McHenry, Illinois and the move although tedious was just
a few miles away. He had very little help from family and friends who
live within 20 minutes of Stephens. It cost several thousand dollars
to wrap up legal fees and pay total strangers to move his entire life
and history from one locale to another. But, he wants everyone who
did donate and who did physically help him to know how thankful he is
of your kindness.
article Copyright Ⓒ2019
Bill Stephens/Metro News Network – All rights reserved.