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June 26th: vivian-stringer
Patsy Bates, Salon Owner and Proponent of Health Care Coverage Age: 52 Hometown: Gardena, CA When her health care coverage was dropped: Just before her surgery for breast cancer in 2004.

Diagnosed with cancer, 52-year-old Patsy Bates' courage and strength were tested when she was left to fight — against all odds — for her health care coverage rights.

A hairdresser in Gardena, California, Patsy owns a salon and although she's used to working hard, nothing could prepare her for the life changes she experienced in January 2004.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Patsy was devastated to find out she was being dropped by her health care provider while being prepped for surgery.

Left with over $129,000 in medical bills, she had to stop chemotherapy for several months, and it wasn't until she found a charity to pay for it that she could resume cancer treatment.

Although emotionally and physically spent as she coped with a life threatening illness, Patsy stayed strong and fought for her rights.

Ms. Bates was awarded an unprecedented $9.4 million covering her medical bills and providing punitive damages.

Not only did her historic case help to set an intolerance standard against fraudulent policy cancellations, but Patsy has also become an inspiration to all woman fighting for proper health coverage.