A Lofty, But Life-Saving Goal Is Set For Hayden Woman

HAYDEN, ID — A 24-year-old Hayden woman says she’s living in her own personal hell. She has a cyst wrapped around her spine, limiting her to crutches and a recliner, but an outpouring of community support has her hopeful she’ll get her life back.

You wouldn’t be able to tell right away that Tabatha Gass has a debilitating condition, a Tarlov Cyst. She says no medication can take away the gnawing pain in her lower back.

“I spend all day in a recliner, looking out my window, you know, how am I going to get better?” Tabatha said.

Her disease is extremely rare. If left untreated the cyst would continue to grow and lead to paralysis. Surgery, however, would give her a better chance at life.

“The surgery… at this point with how much the cyst has destroyed my bone, the nerves, that I’m looking at a 40 percent chance of recovering fully,” Tabatha said.

She would have to travel to Kansas City for the operation. The doctor, one of about five in the country who specialize in her disease, would remove the cyst from her spine at a cost of $20,000.

If it weren’t for the Hayden community, Tabatha, who is uninsured and unable to work because she’s unable to stand, wouldn’t be able to look forward to the surgery.

On Sunday night at Daanen’s Delicatessen there was a silent auction and spaghetti feed in honor of Tabatha. The money will go toward her surgery.

“I wish tomorrow could be the day I can make the phone call to schedule my surgery,” Tabatha said.

She is closer to making that phone call; the fundraiser at Daanen’s raised close to $10,000. Complete strangers came around to offer her support, money and even a handmade quilt. Every day she’s inching closer to her goal of getting her life back.

“It’s been a very, very rough, long, hard road of seven months of pure torture,” Tabatha said.

But one thing she can hold on to is her ability to always look to the future.

“I’m definitely going to live life a lot differently when this whole thing is over,” Tabatha said. “It’s made me stronger, definitely made me stronger.”

If you would like to help Tabatha reach her $20,000 goal you can donate toward the “Tabatha’s Surgery Fund” at any US Bank location.