GoFundMe set up for Palmerton woman with Stage 4 cancer – Times News Online

Published on October 04, 2021 14:45

An Illinois cancer survivor set up GoFundMe for a Palmerton woman who was diagnosed with stage four cancer.

Tracy Ahrens, of Momence, Illinois, said she organized the event for Debbie Ebeley, who has been battling cancer for several years. They met each other through social media.

Ebeley’s home on Lafayette Avenue is in dire need of a roof repair.

“It’s leaking so badly that it has tarps over the roof and interior ceilings are damaged,” Ahrens said. “That’s bad for someone with a compromised immune system.”

When Ebeley posted on social media that she needed help, “I felt called to help her for miles,” Ahrens said. “I live in Illinois and I survived breast cancer.”

Ahrens said that Ebeley was raised by her grandparents and this is their home. She said Ebeley stayed at home as an adult and looked after her grandparents. She inherited her house.

“I’ve called many, many agencies on her behalf and called two roofing companies to provide free estimates for her roof repair,” she said. “As you can imagine, Debbie is tired from the treatments and is focusing her energies on saving her life.

“I believe we should help each other with the gifts God has given us. I felt that my networking and writing skills could help her.”

Ahrens said she set up a GoFundMe for Ebeley to try and raise the funds needed to repair her roof and interior ceilings.

“Remember Debbie is on welfare and doesn’t have money to put a new roof on her house,” she said. “She struggles to make ends meet and she has several pet birds that are her world. She has helped with animal rescue for years.”

Ahrens has been referred to several programs, including the national program Rebuilding Together and Habitat For Humanity, which have no Palmerton affiliates.

Catholic charities referred her to the Carbon County Action Committee, but were told the only program option they might have was a USDA home repair loan at 1% interest, but the person had to be 62 or older. Ebeley is 60 and can’t get a loan because she can’t risk losing her welfare.

The Carbon County Housing Authority only helps renters and HUD homeowners.

She was also referred to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and told they offer loans at 1% interest, but Ebeley cannot borrow and jeopardize her public support for health care.

Ahrens said that in the past Ebeley had asked her church pastor if there was anything the church could do to help her, but they said they couldn’t.

She also approached two roofing companies to provide estimates for Ebeley’s roof repair.

“They were both very nice and said they would do a free estimate for her,” Ebeley said. “A roofer compassionately reduced repair costs by $1,000.”

Ebeley said she was blessed to know Ahrens.

“We share a shared love of animals and have shared gifts through the mail,” Ebeley said. “She agreed a few weeks ago to help me by starting a fundraiser on my behalf and contacting some roofers in my area as well as some churches and other organizations looking for help for my needs.”

Ebeley stated her most pressing need right now was to have her roof replaced, noting that she had lived her entire life in the house her parents built in 1948.

“They were my maternal grandparents who adopted me when I was about 3 or 4 years old and this is the only home I’ve ever known,” she said. “I stayed home with my parents until they died as their caregiver and companion, and they gave me our home as a reward for giving up my younger years to be with them.

“For me it’s crucial to save it before anything happens to it. I have pet parrots and we have nowhere else to go.”

To date, the fund has raised $315 of the $8,000 goal. Contributions can be made at https://bit.ly/3mcmnSX.

A GoFundMe account was created for Debbie Ebeley of Palmerton, who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. The fundraiser was started by Tracy Ahrens of Momence, Illinois, who Ebeley met through social media. INVOLVED PHOTO

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