A benefit for Pastor Tony Angran of the Solid Rock Church of God in Centerville will be held Saturday beginning at 4 p.m. at Faith United Methodist Church at 23851 Highway 5 in Centerville.
Tony and his wife, Diana, have been dealing with his diagnosis of stage three esophageal cancer since January and his struggle getting insurance coverage blew up into a national news story in March covered by several media outlets including WHO radio in Des Moines, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.
“We we’re amazed,” said Diana. “It turned real political and that was never our intent.”
According to them in 2005 Tony suffered a heart attack. At the time, the couple lived in Illinois and Tony recovered. When they moved to Centerville so Tony could take over as pastor at the Solid Rock Church of God, they had a hard time getting insurance due to Tony’s preexisting condition of the heart attack. In January of 2013 they were finally able to get what they thought was good insurance. It covered regular doctor visits, but what the couple didn’t know was that the policy did not cover any major medical expenses.
On Jan. 17 Tony began suffering chest and back pain and thought it might be another heart attack. After several diagnostic tests, the Angran’s got the news on Jan. 30 that Tony actually had stage three esophageal cancer. He began treatment and actually received one radiation treatment on Feb. 17, but on Feb. 18, when he arrived for his second treatment, they were informed that their current insurance had denied payment for the treatment he had received up until that point and had refused to pay for chemotherapy.
“When we first started getting these treatments we gave them the insurance information and it’s our understanding they called the insurance company and they would pay and then they didn’t…and there was just a lot of confusion there and it ended up that none of that was covered and since we didn’t have the finances to pay for chemotherapy…we were sent home.”