Petition Closed
Petitioning Blue Cross Blue Shield and 2 others

[Surprise Outcome!] -- Blue Cross: Provide coverage for proton therapy to save our Mom


A growing tumor in the bone at the base of our Mom's skull near her brainstem is pressing on her brain . The tumor could take away her vision and ability to speak at any moment. Her doctors agree that she needs a form of radiation, proton beam therapy, which is the best, most appropriate treatment for her specific condition. BCBSNC has denied proton therapy, even though scientific studies show it to be the right treatment in her situation. She will get better with this treatment!

Insurance coverage means nothing if it doesn't cover the treatment patients need. Please stand up for our mom -- and all the men, women, and children like her -- who are denied the care they are entitled to, and need, to live.

Letter to
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice-President for Healthcare Don W. Bradley, M.D., MHS-CL
BCBSNC Facebook Email
CAN'T THANK EVERYONE ENOUGH FOR YOUR SUPPORT. (WE WILL GIVE DETAILS LATER, B/C WE TAKE SERIOUSLY THE OPPORTUNITY TO HELP ANYONE ELSE IN A SIMILAR BOAT.) Despite weeks of denials, with 7 minutes notice, Mom was told there'd be a live review today, the same day the petition started - that was held, & later, she learned the request for proton therapy was approved "as an exception"! THANK YOU ALL; BLESS YOU!!!

TO: Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina

FROM: Hunter Garlock, Marie Garlock


Please help save our Mom by approving the medical care she urgently needs.

We're grateful to have our Mom, Barbara Bosma Garlock, in our lives. She is a miraculous 6 1/2 year survivor of stage IV breast cancer with many more years to live if BCBSNC stands by her at this crucial time.

Right now our fabulous mom Barbara can walk, talk, read, and see -- she leads tours at the NC Museum of Art, volunteers with sick people and those who can't pay bills, makes it a party in the chemo room, dances with our dad, laughs, and charms everyone she meets. Alarmingly, all this is in danger if BCBSNC does not approve her treatment now.

A growing tumor in the bone at the base of her skull is pressing on her brain. The tumor could take away her vision and ability to speak at any moment. Our Mom's doctors agree that she needs a special form of radiation, proton beam therapy, which is the standard of care for her specific condition. Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute, HUPTI, is the closest treatment center available.

Unfortunately, as our Mom’s health insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has denied this crucial treatment despite experts’ recommendations and scientific evidence of its value in treating this specific condition. Every day's delay endangers her life. According to her doctors, with proton therapy treatment our mom can preserve her sight and ability to speak and can expect a “significant length of survival.” Isn’t this what insurance is for?

However, BCBSNC claims that proton radiation is "investigational."

Not true!

Proton radiation is FDA-approved and has been used to treat tumors at the base of the skull and head and neck cancers for decades. It is effective in tumor control and reduces damage to other parts of the body, especially the brain. It is recognized as the gold standard for treatment of cancer at the base of the skull. *ALL* medical research shows my mom’s case is the “ideal” situation for proton therapy.

To review, the tumor is in the skull at the center of the brain, dangerously close to the brain stem and pressing on areas of her brain that control vital functions. BCBSNC’s preference for traditional radiation is not nearly as targeted, damages sensitive surrounding tissue, has been shown to be less effective than proton therapy in cases like our Mom’s, is more likely to lead to secondary cancers, and would cause up to 60 percent greater brain damage. The family practice physician BCBSNC hired to review her expert radiation oncologists’ recommendation for proton therapy does not seem to be aware of the numerous studies published in peer-reviewed journals showing these points.

Unlike traditional photon radiation, which damages tissue behind the area targeted, proton radiation targets the tumor and stops. It does not have any "exit" radiation that damages surrounding areas of the brain.

Our Mom needs proton therapy NOW. Her doctors agree.

We're told that BCBSNC has denied proton therapy for all patients at HUPTI across the board, regardless of their circumstances, even though insurers in other states and around the world pay for it all the time.

We close with a message to those who support our mom and this petition: It’s always been important to our mom that her cancer experience be of benefit to others. People across our state are being denied reasonable, life-saving insurance coverage for many treatments. Please stand up for our mom and all the men, women, and children like her, who are denied the care they are entitled to, and need, to live.

Please pray for our Mom. Please sign the petition. Please share it with any and all who may be able to help. And to BCBSNC, please do the right thing and approve the treatment our Mom’s doctors say she needs.

Hunter Garlock (19) and Marie Garlock (26)
with our family and community

Marie Garlock started this petition with a single signature, and now has 973 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.