Shelly Dusic, Vandalia-Con
Shelly Dusic grew up in rural eastern Kentucky. In 1985, the coal mine her father worked in collapsed, leaving him with a spinal cord injury. The medical bills wiped out their savings and they lost almost everything. It was through the generosity of others that they survived and she had to work very hard in high school to secure a scholarship so she could go to college.
In 1997, Shelly moved to West Virginia, to attend Marshall University. During her second semester, she got very sick. She had no insurance and what medical services she could access gave her a bleak outlook. After many months of pain and paperwork, she was finally able to have some tests ran and a radiologist called her with the results of her ultrasound, informing her that she needed a biopsy.
“If what I am looking at is cancer, you may have 3 months to 5 years to live,” she was told. After realizing couldn’t afford treatment, she instead prepaid for cremation, and didn’t tell her family that she was sick. At just 18, alone and without hope, Shelly felt that no one else should feel as she felt just because they couldn’t afford medical care, and with the help of her husband Bret Dusic and friend Nicole Fuller, Shelly founded Vandalia-Con and The Pink Block party to help connect people with local resources, provide free or low cost screening, education and medical services while reassuring women they are not alone.
GRANT AWARD DATE: November 15, 2015