Fundraiser to support North Bergen family

Emergency surgeries were a financial burden

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The family of Isabel Cucalon.Photos via GoFundMe
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Isabel (right) recovers with help from her friend Zulay.
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The family of Isabel Cucalon.Photos via GoFundMe
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Isabel (right) recovers with help from her friend Zulay.

On May 16, 2020, Isabel Cucalon gave birth to her second child, Luke. Shortly after, she learned she was suffering from birth trauma and had developed an obstetric fistula and pelvic floor damage. To repair and address these conditions, Cucalon went through three surgeries in early 2021.

Complicating matters, Cucalon’s fiancé Nelson Roman also had to undergo surgery. A 10-year veteran of the North Bergen Police Department, he was injured while on duty.

While Cucaloon was suffering from birth trauma and helping her fiancé recover, she was experiencing migraines, severe dizziness, memory loss, deteriorated vision in her right eye, and seizures while sleeping.

Not just stress

She was advised her symptoms were due stress and lack of sleep caused by giving birth and her delivery complications.

On June 16, 2021, Cucalon was referred to a neurologist and was sent for an MRI. It was discovered she had a 3.6 cm brain tumor in her right temporal lobe that was attached to the main artery of her brain.

Cucalon was immediately referred to a neurosurgeon and underwent emergency brain surgery on July 26 to remove as much of the tumor as safely as possible.

Isabel (right) recovers with help from her friend Zulay.

Costs soar

Cucalon must now deal with medical expenses.

Due to the complications before this diagnosis, Cucalon wasn’t able to work for a year. Despite having medical insurance, costs were only partially covered.

A lot of out-of-pocket costs and copayments were associated with her ongoing treatment. Pending pathology results, chemotherapy and radiation may becnecessary.

A GoFundMe was started to support Cucalon and her family.

“This fundraiser has been created for Isabel in hopes of gaining support from all who know her,” said family friend Robert Garcia. “It is our hope that this fundraiser will assist with the financial burden on her family that will follow this medical emergency. With one less worry, Isabel will be able to fully focus on recovering and healing. Please help us share her story and raise funds to offset her growing medical expenses.”

Community support

The fundraiser, which was launched on July 26, the same day as her surgery, has already seen an outpouring of support. As of July 30, over 481 donors have contributed over $51,220.

Cucalon is now recovering in the hospital. Though she’s moved out of the ICU and into her own room, she’s being closely monitored.

“With the help of Nelson, her fiancé, and Zulay, her close friend and amazing helper setting this fundraiser up, Isabel was also able to begin the painful and tough process of physical therapy,” Garcia wrote. “She was also able to withstand the lights in the room and FaceTime her beautiful children. She is one step closer to going home! Thank you all for the amazing support and the support to come.”

To donate, go to www.gofundme.com/f/isabels-emergency-brain-surgery.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.