Donations save Kirkland woman’s home as she battles cancer

Sandy Furness - Contributed
Sandy Furness
— image credit: Contributed

After months of battling it out with her bank, Sandy Furness can finally say ‘thank you’ to the people who helped save her Kirkland home.

Last January, Furness put in a call for help when she found herself about to lose her home. Furness was forced to retire from her job of 42 years as a flight attendant after she discovered she had breast cancer.

Living on her own, Furness emptied her savings, her 401K and relied on Social Security disability - a small amount for her high mortgage.

The 30-year resident would accrue up to $35,000 in penalties with Chase bank.

Furness had applied for home modification programs for two years and was denied seven times.

“I took all my savings out because they kept saying they were going to modify me,” she said. “They just stalled and stalled and if I would have known that two years ago when I first got my cancer, I would have taken a different route. I would have gotten a roommate … maybe I could have rented the house and gone some place else. I wouldn’t have just thrown $35,000 away.”

But friends, family and kind strangers sent her money last winter. The largest donation was $20,000 from a “friend of a friend,” making the total $40,000.

“My friends, they’d send $50, or a $10 or a $100 or $500,” Furness said. “I had a girlfriend give me $1,000 and this one lady, a stranger, gave me $5,000. We still email back and forth but she stays anonymous. She doesn’t say why she’s doing this.”

Furness said she eventually had to get a lawyer for mediation and claims the bank officials told her, “Why would we help you when there would be no profit to us?”

After some difficulty in getting the bank to accept the donated money, Furness is now only paying monthly mortgage payments.

“It was just a wonderful thing knowing I could keep the house,” she said. “I really want to thank the people that donated and I just felt blessed that there are people out there that trusted the article.”

The Reporter first ran a story on Furness in January.

However, because she still only receives Social Security disability, Furness still needs help with her utility payments which are between $400 and $500. She also needs a retrofitted bathroom for handicap accessibility due to her vertigo and neuropathy from chemo treatments.

“I have applied for Hopelink and other aid programs but I don’t qualify,” she said. “They would help if I were homeless but if you own a home and have income, you don’t qualify.”

To help Furness, send mail donations to Furness’s home located at 12701 NE 113th Place, Kirkland 98033 or email her at for more information.


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