Cancer Drove Forsyth Couple into Debt

6:05 PM, Oct 14, 2013   |    comments
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Even on a personal level, falling into debt can happen to anyone.

And in a medical crisis, the consequences can be devastating. 

The Ramages say they lived extravagantly and spent money freely.

"I bought diamonds, took exotic vacations, went to every kind of entertainment," says Wendell Ramage. 

Wendell indulged in luxuries because he only had a few more years to live.

"With stage four prostate cancer, I thought at the end of four years, I'd just promptly drop dead," he said.

So he kept spending, until he outlived his initial prognosis and built up his credit card debt. 

With the prospect of a longer future, he and his wife Linda had to work at reducing $50,000 in debt.

"Instantly I had to do something because I couldn't straddle her with that debt," he said.

The Ramages sought help through the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Middle Ga. It's a nonprofit group that helps people manage debt. 

Nicole Caldwell of CCCS said, "Their interest rate was 20, 22 percent. We were able to lower it to 9 percent, 10 percent, 12 percent."

After cutting up credit cards, Linda and Wendell say they changed their lifestyle and lived frugally.

"We had to eat a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. We didn't go the Ramen noodle route, but who knows," said Wendell to his wife.

They made monthly payments of about one-thousand dollars for the next five years and steadily climbed out of debt. Now, they are debt free and about to reach another milestone.

"In June, we are celebrating our 50th, and Linda's already said no big celebration, but i want one," Wendell said.

The Ramages still enjoy life, but in moderation.

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