LEBANON, Pa. (WHTM) — Parents of a woman battling cancer say she only has a month to live and they are fighting to get her treatment. But first, they have to get her out of Lebanon County Prison.
Ashley Menser, 36, pleaded guilty in 2019 for stealing $109.63 worth of merchandise from a Weis Markets store. Her attorney, Scot Feeman, said it was her seventh or eighth retail theft.
“She’s been clean, sober, and doing very well for the past two years,” said Stephanie Bashore, Menser’s mother.
Bashore says Menser has been battling ovarian cancer and now cervical cancer, too.
“The last time we went to her doctor, the doctor said that nothing is working. Her only option was to get surgery,” Bashore said.
That next appointment was scheduled for last Wednesday before her sentencing hearing was made that same day.
“Her continuing to treat here at Hershey is not only in her best interest but in the community’s best interest,” Feeman said.
Her attorney asked for house arrest instead of prison time because of her condition, even presenting a letter from her oncologist saying if she doesn’t get surgery, she’ll die.
“Judge Klein was very clear and he aptly characterized her as a serial thief, and that’s a fair statement,” Feeman said. “And in his opinion, house arrest wasn’t appropriate and jail was.”
Now Lt. Governor John Fetterman is weighing in, too.
“The possibility that she could have advanced cancer that could be in fact life-threatening, I think that should be far and away the main priority than litigating a shoplifting charge involving some $110,” Fetterman said.
Bashore says her daughter has stopped eating and she’s too weak to even pick up a pen to write a letter.
“She has a seizure disorder and things that she’s on meds for. They have not done anything,” Bashore said. “She’s not even on the medical block. She’s on the regular block, laying in a cell, dying.”
The prison’s healthcare provider, PrimeCare Medical, tells ABC27 anyone who comes into prison receives extensive screening and testing to identify preexisting conditions, and if they have any scheduled appointments, they would be followed up with.
“If you have cancer, who do you want to meet with? Your doctor who’s familiar with your case that’s an oncologist, or kind of like an urgent care center to kind of like check-in, ‘hey how are you,’ that’s available twice a week in prison?” Fetterman said.
“We don’t want her to be let out to get out of jail. We want her to be let out so she can live,” Bashore said.
Freeman filed a motion for reconsideration and modification of the sentence.