By Sandra Zunino
There is nothing more devastating for parents than to watch their child suffer. Sadly, Marlene and Gary Meyers know this all too well. That’s because their 25-year-old daughter, Sarah, was diagnosed this year with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s disease, a type of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system.
It started when Sarah called home with persistent, severe chest pain. Doctors at a hospital E.R. attributed the pain to anxiety, but Sarah knew something was terribly wrong. Later, tests revealed that Sarah had enlarged lymph nodes. It would take another round of tests including three surgical procedures before the Meyers learn of Sarah’s Lymphoma diagnosis.
Fortunately, with treatment the predicted rate of recovery is high, but Sarah must endure six weeks of rigorous chemotherapy that has had devastating side effects. Unable to care for herself on her own, Sarah moved back home with her parents. Consequently, Marlene left work to help care for her daughter.
With chemo running more than $8,000 per treatment and Sarah’s numerous hospitals stays at more than $1,000 a day, the medical expenses, even with insurance, are wreaking financial havoc on the Meyers. “Although finances are tight,” says Gary. “We’ll get through it.”
However, the local community was not about to sit by quietly and allow the Meyers to come to financial ruin. Friends and neighbors rallied around them and held a Spaghetti Dinner Benefit 50/50 raffle and silent auction for Sarah last Saturday at the Grasonville Fire Department on Main Street.
It was the Meyers’ neighbors, Lisa Galloway and Vicki Warwick with her daughter Cindy, who really got the ball rolling as far as organizing the fundraiser, according to Gary. “We would like to thank everyone for their help and generosity,” he says.
Not only did the Grasonville Fire Department donate the space for the benefit, says Gary, but also many local business donated items and gift certificates for the silent auction. “We’re really blessed as far as the donations,” he says.
Among the businesses, Cafe Sado, Annie’s Paramount Steak & Seafood House, The Stevensville Crab Shack, Hemmingway’s Restaurant, True Value Hardware, Ace Hardware, Lisa’s Small Plates, Baker’s Liquors, Love Point Deli and Luke’s Grille all donated gift certificates and/or food items for the dinner.
“Anyone we’ve asked to help has been very generous,” says Gary. He says people in the area continued to call in with donations and offerings of help with the dinner. Area businesses were also generous about allowing them to advertise the benefit by putting flyers out and signs in windows.
Additionally, area churches have placed Sarah on their prayer lists and many people are praying for Sarah’s cancer to go into remission. The Meyers are trying to remain hopeful that Sarah will receive positive news from her doctors in the next two or three months.
In the mean time, Sarah has had to place her life on hold. She left college, where she was maintaining a 4.0 average and quit her job. Despite the pain, weakness and nausea Sarah has been suffering from chemotherapy, one thing has helped keep her spirits up. Her boyfriend, Jay Wissman, recently asked her hand in marriage. Gary says, once Sarah gets through this, she hopes to start her life over.
If you would like to donate to the Sarah Meyers Fund, please send checks to P.O. Box 224, Chester, Maryland, 21619.