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Dying Woman Needs Help Getting Home

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Jessica Bussert (left) and Betsie Gallardo are asking for the public's help to get home to Indiana.  (Source: Jessica Bussert)

Jessica Bussert (left) and Betsie Gallardo are asking for the public’s help to get home to Indiana. (Source: Jessica Bussert)

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MIAMI (CBS4) – Less than a week after Florida’s Parole Commission granted a conditional release to a dying 27-year old woman, she’s learned that she’ll be allowed to return home.

Under terms of the release, the commission ruled that Betsie Gallardo would be allowed to live out her remaining days outside of prison, but only if she returned to Indiana and lived with her adoptive parents under house arrest.

On Wednesday, Gallardo’s adoptive mother Jessica Bussert said that Indiana officials have agreed to allow the Gallardo to return.

Gallardo, who was born in the U.S. HIV positive, grew up in Haiti after her father abandoned her, her sister and mother there. When their mother died, the two sisters were forced to live on the streets.

“Betsie’s first ten years were full of abuse, physical, sexual, starvation. She grew up in the poorest slum this side of the planet,” said Bussert.

In 2008, she was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of assault on a law enforcement officer in Naples. Bussert said her daughter bit an officer while she was being arrested on a child neglect charge after leaving her boyfriend’s child home alone for more than 30 minutes. The charge was later dropped. Bussert said because Gallardo was HIV positive, the sentence was harsh.

Four months into her sentence Gallardo was diagnosed with gall bladder cancer. It has since spread to her liver, lungs and ovaries and doctors say her condition is terminal and she only has weeks to live.

Bussert said before they can leave they have to provide the Florida Department of Corrections with their travel plans and doctor’s approval.

Over the next 24 hours, Bussert said they will have to prove to the doctors that they can manage Gallardo’s pain using only patches and oral medications. Another challenge will be showing a at least a little physical evidence of intestinal motility. This is going to be tough, according to Bussert, because Gallardo has really not brought in enough by mouth to support excretion. The last thing they will have to provide the doctor is copies of flight plans because she will only authorize Gallardo’s release if she flies home.

Bussert said to meet this requirement they’ll the doctor believes that driving will be too onerous on Gallardo.

Having been in school for the last three years training to be a nurse, Bussert said funds are tight and last minute air travel is expensive. She said she and family would be greatly appreciative to anyone willing to offer financial assistance or flight miles in support their flights home and the hospice care thereafter.

A Ft. Lauderdale 501c3 charity has stepped up to accept any donations on Gallardo’s behalf.

Anyone wishing to help should make donations out to:

Betsie’s Hospice Fund
C/O The Pride Center at Equality Park
P.O. Box 70518
Fort Lauderdale , FL 33307

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