A hard-hit family prays for a happy outcome

Barbara Hootman

Dan Curry, 45, texted his wife Jenny in January to tell her he didn’t feel right. His head hurt. He had chest pains. He was dizzy. An ambulance had been called, he told her.

Jenny went to the Ingles warehouse, where her husband works as a truck switcher, and followed the ambulance to the hospital. She and Dan, Swannanoa residents, were baffled by the diagnosis - simple stress.

A quiet time in the Curry residence precedes anxious times when Dan Curry, right, undergoes brain surgery. From left are his son Adam, his wife Jenny and his daughter Taylor.

Stress the Swannanoa family could understand. Dan and Jenny's 19-year-old twins are chronically ill. Taylor Curry is battling several medical issues, including fibromyalgia, lupus and polycystic ovary syndrome, the latter of which has resulted in two surgeries. Adam Curry has been sick for the past three years from extreme nausea that has resulted in feeding tubes being inserted to help him get enough nutrition. He has been diagnosed with a rare digestive system disorder.

But Dan, he never got sick, according to Jenny. A truck driver for 19 years with an impeccable work ethic, “he goes to work regardless of how he feels," she said. Until she got those texts in January, he'd been fine, despite a severe car accident in 2005 in which he suffered a concussion, with brain bleeding.

On July 9, Dan texted Jenny again, saying he was feeling symptoms similar to those he suffered in January. He had the worst headache of his life, he said. He was nauseated. His text message had a lot of misspelled words - Jenny knew something unusual was going on with him. Dan was admitted to the hospital, where he stayed for four days, including two in the intensive care unit.

On Aug. 5, Dan left to have brain surgery at Emory Hospital in Atlanta. His brain stem is bleeding and a tumor there has grown large. Doctors know this because of six brain scans at Emory. Each consultation costs $1,000, compounding the family's worries.

"It took my parents borrowing the money to get Dan seen at Emory,” said Jenny, who works part-time  caring for an elderly woman. “The tumor now is about the size of a 50 cent piece.  It has been growing for 10 years.

“The doctor that we saw at Emory Hospital is known for his skill and for the textbook he wrote on brain tumors,” Jenny said.  “He wasn’t sure what he was seeing (from the scans) and scheduled Dan for surgery. I am concerned because I have no idea how I am going to pay the hospital bill.  Dan has qualified for financial assistance from Emory Hospital, but we have no idea what we are facing.

"Of course I am worried about taking care of our chronically ill children, feeding the family, keeping a roof over our heads, and just living.  Like so many others, we live pay check to pay check.”

The Curry family prepares to pray before supper - prayers that no doubt silently include their father's health.

Bounty & Soul has been providing fresh produce and fruit for the Curry family.

“The Curry family has been utilizing Bounty & Soul services on and off for about 2.5 years,” said Allison Casparian, Bounty & Soul's executive director. "Jenny has come to the markets and participated in the classes.  Sometimes her husband and children came when they were feeling well enough.  Jenny always came with a smile and a friendly demeanor, despite what challenges and hardships she was experiencing at the time.  She is always eager to learn something new, engage with others and help without being asked, and very grateful for the healthy food she is given.  She never leaves without letting one of us know how very grateful she is.

“Her love and devotion to her family is unmistakable," Casparian said, "which serves as a reminder to all of us who might take our health, close relationships and security for granted.  They are a strong-knit family glued together by the strength and commitment of their mother, Jenny.  The Bounty & Soul family has embraced Jenny and her family with love, support and prayers at this difficult time and we will do whatever we can to help them get through this unimaginable situation.”

“We are so grateful for the help we have received,” Jenny said.  “When people asked why we don’t have insurance, I tell them we can’t afford it.”

Jenny tries to stay focused on the present and not worry about the severe side effects that may result from Dan’s surgery.

“I’ve been told the worst things that can happen, but all I really know is Dan is having brain surgery and what happens after that we’ll have to face it then,” she said.  “My husband stays positive in his belief that God will provide for all of us and take care of everything.  We are totally relying on God.  He is our refuge and strength.  Our trust lies in him.  He is the only reason we are still standing.”

Friends will check on the twins while Jenny is at Emory Hospital with Dan. A financial adviser at Emory Hospital estimated that Dan’s surgery will cost $50,000-$60,000.

"When people asked me what I need," Jenny said, "I tell them to put themselves in my place and ask what they would need.”

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the family.  To donate, go to