Kicking for Carolyn

Community rallies around staff member battling cancer again


Regan Peterson

Carolyn Baremore cleans a stain off of Charlie Crouther’s shirt, May 10.

Carolyn and Keith Baremore have taught science classes at EHS for over 20 years. Carolyn Baremore teaches Biology and Cadet Teaching, while Keith Baremore teaches Human Anatomy, Biomedical Interventions and Human Body Systems while also coaching boys volleyball.

They are a strong presence at school, so when Carolyn Baremore received her third breast cancer diagnosis in March students and staff wanted to help.

“Mrs. Baremore gave me her Gold Standard last year, but she will always be my Gold Standard,” Sarah Schulz (12) said. “The way she treats total strangers and invites them into her story has made a huge impact on me. I strive to be like her in the way she finds joy in the hard times. She has made a lifelong impact on me not only as a teacher but as a person.”

Carolyn Baremore previously battled breast cancer in 2005 and 2013. In this third diagnosis, doctors found the breast cancer again but this time in her liver.

“I do not think a kid has ever had her and thought she did not care deeply about them,” Elissa Perrin, Science, said. “If you are her friend or you know her at all, you feel that way, too.”

Unlike the past diagnoses, the spread of this cancer means she will have to be treated for the rest of her life.

The future is unclear for the Baremores as they do not know what is to come for Carolyn Baremore.

“Life at home with the uncertainty of what’s going on from day to day and week to week is not like it used to be,” Keith Baremore said. “It is just kind of a new normal that is not necessarily something we wanted. We just have to fight through and deal with it.”

According to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, roughly one in four non-elderly adults in the United States have problems due to unaffordable medical bills and medical debt.

Monthly payments for medical treatment eat away at the family’s budget. Although the Baremores have health insurance through Rockwood School District, they face the harsh reality that insurance will not cover all expenses.

“We get a new bill almost every week that they [the insurance company] say they are not going to cover, so the fundraising money will help us out there,” Keith Baremore said.

For full time employees, RSD gives employees a choice between two plans: the Green Plan and the Tan Plan.

Employees with the Green Plan along with the district pay the insurance company a monthly premium that depends on the number of people covered:

  • employee only: employee: $0 and RSD: $533.12
  • employee + spouse: employee: $304.54 and RSD: $837.66
  • employee + child: employee: $230.10 and RSD: $763.22
  • employee + family: employee: $534.66 and RSD: $1067.78

This premium does not cover the $50 copay for each doctor visit. Green Plan participants receive a discount on medical services but pay more per visit and procedure until they meet their higher deductibles. The deductible for a family under the Green Plan is $1,500.

Employees who are under the Tan Plan also pay a premium based on who is covered:

  • employee only: employee: $0 and RSD: $435.52
  • employee + spouse: employee: $182.76 and RSD: $740.06
  • employee + child: employee: $138.06 and RSD: $665.62
  • employee + family: employee: $320.84 and RSD: $970.18

Tan Plan participants receive a discount on medical services but pay more per visit and procedure until they meet their higher deductibles. The deductible for a family under the Tan Plan is $4,000.

Deductible: (in an insurance policy) a specified amount of money that the insured must pay before an insurance company will pay a claim

According to Lori Roach, benefits coordinator, the Green Plan represents more of a traditional plan with more of a deductible and copays. Whereas the Tan Plan is a high deductible plan which includes a health savings account to which the district makes a contribution.

Rockwood employees may choose between either plan based on preference. Either plan will help cover their medical appointments, prescription drugs and exams.

Although the district makes contributions to each plan, employees do have out-of-pocket expenses.

Out-of-pocket expense:  is the direct outlay of cash that may or may not be later reimbursed from a third-party source

For example, a family covered under the Tan Plan would pay up to $4,000 for their coverage every year, which is when they reach their deductible. Add that to an additional $2,000 out-of-pocket for a total of $6,000 paid in out-of-pocket expenses per year for medications and treatment.

This does not include any additional expenses a family would have to pay if they choose to attend a facility or see a physician that is out of network. Their expenses out-of-pocket may be higher at an out of network facility than if they were to visit an in-network facility.

“The range is all over the board,” Tim Rackovan, Express Scripts Senior Clinical Program Manager, said in a phone interview conducted April 30. “On average, according to the Express Scripts book of business, the average prescription costs including all those traditional therapies with the speciality medications is right at about $2,300 per prescription per month, so it’s very expensive medication.”

Copay: a payment made by a beneficiary (especially for health services) in addition to that made by an insurer

Those medications would be paid party by the insured and partly by the insurance company.

The Baremores will have to pay these types of expenses out-of-pocket for an unforeseeable amount of time. Just like the community gathered to battle floods, they are once again coming together for some of their own.

Community members are stepping up to stand with the Baremores through their fight.

To start, Perrin created a GoFundMe page that raised $2,950 in 15 days and has surpassed its goal of $2,500 thanks to the 45 donors.

Additionally, Perrin and the rest of the Science Department organized the BBQ for the Battle, Friday, May 11, 4-9 p.m.

The barbeque will be held on the practice football fields at EHS and will include a cake-walk, bounce house, dunking booth, barbeque dishes, raffle and a silent auction. Community members have donated the food and drinks for the barbeque.

There will also be a surprise piece of jewelry that was created to represent Mrs. Baremore that will be sold at the barbeque for those attending to purchase. The money raised from the food, drinks and items sold at the barbeque will go directly to the Baremore family.

In addition to the barbeque, NHS set up a fundraising option for students last week to purchase a barbeque lunch to eat on Friday, May 11. Students could pay money to purchase food such as a hot dog, hamburger, bratwurst, chips or a drink. The food will be served for students to pick up in the courtyard during lunch shifts on Friday.

There will also be a kickball tournament for students that the National Honor Society members organized after school.

There will be 21 teams consisting of 10-20 people per team. Players paid $15 each to join a team and receive a Cats Kick Cancer t-shirt. The kickball, t-shirt and barbeque lunch sales have raised $4,000 as of May 8.

“Mrs. Baremore has been here forever, and she is one of my favorite teachers and has the biggest heart,” Natalie Olson, NHS kickball organizer, said. “She does not deserve this, so it is really cool to show our support and give back.”

EHS staff members have been participating in “Dress like a PE teacher” since April 16. The fundraiser goes until May 20. Staff members can donate $1 a day to dress as a PE teacher to school. At the end of the fundraiser, students and staff members may vote on which teacher should wear their fanciest tuxedo or most glamorous dress to school. All the funds raised will go directly to the Baremore family.

The Dress like a P.E. Teacher fundraiser has already raised $4,200 as of May 9.

“The support my family has received is overwhelming in a good way,” Katherine Baremore, daughter of Keith and Carolyn Baremore, said. “It is just amazing because you see with the floods how the community comes together. Now you get to see how one person has made an impact on so many people and how they affected the community as a whole.”

The funds from all of these events will go toward the Baremores as they find a way to pay for the extensive treatment.

“We are going to put the money in a medical fund, a savings,” Carolyn Baremore said. “I do not know what is coming down the road, so it is helpful and I am appreciative. I would like to say how appreciative I am of everybody and their love, the notes and encouragement. The support has been truly overwhelming, and it gives me great hope. I do not wish this upon anyone.”

The funds will benefit the Baremore family as they face a lifelong financial burden.

I had both Mr. and Mrs. Baremore as teachers,” Gunnar Herbert (12) said. “Any way that I could help with their process, even just by donating a little bit of money and spreading awareness for such a great cause, is definitely a good reason to be in attendance.”

Students who did not sign up for a kickball team can still attend the BBQ fundraiser. All community members are welcome.

After all, there is strength in numbers.

“There are so many people who have done such amazing things for us and said such kind words,” Katherine Baremore said. “Honestly, people have restored my faith in humanity, it’s so kind of everyone.”