Who: The family of Richard “Mitch” Prebish has lots of ways to describe the 56-year-old Pittston Twp. resident: supportive, outgoing, funny, family-oriented, energetic, dependable and loyal. The son of Theresa Prebish and the late Michael Prebish, he is the husband of Marlene Brennan Prebish and has a large extended family that includes sisters Debbie Pupa and Donna Nash; brothers John, Mark, the late Michael and the late Kenneth Prebish; sister-in-law Lisa Rozitski; and several nieces and nephews.
A 1982 graduate of Pittston Area High School, Prebish returned to the school district as an adult, working there for about 20 years. He also has spent 36 years as a volunteer firefighter with the Pittston Twp. company.
What: The man who dedicated his life to helping others now needs the public’s support. In early April, Prebish was diagnosed with stage 3 esophageal cancer. He underwent 30 radiation treatments and six rounds of chemotherapy and also will need surgery to remove the cancer. His family said Prebish will have a long recovery process that may include more chemotherapy.
Why: Prebish has been unable to work because of his diagnosis, which has placed a financial burden on his family since he is the sole monetary provider. And when it comes to his health, every day is different, he said.
“One day I feel good, and one day I feel awful,” Prebish said. “I don’t get much sleep, as my sleep pattern has been effected. Some days I am sick most of the day, and some days I can eat and feel good.”
His family takes matters day by day but noted life is hectic and stressful at the moment. They try to keep Prebish as comfortable as possible and ensure he has what he needs.
“(We are) just trying to be there to support him and be sure that he doesn’t give up and keeps fighting,” they explained.
How: To help cover the costs of Prebish’s care, supporters will host a benefit pasta dinner with basket raffles, a 50/50 drawing and bake sale on Sunday, Aug. 1, from noon to 5 p.m. at Queen of the Apostles Parish Hall, 742 Spring St., Avoca. Tickets cost $10 and include pasta, meatballs, salad, a roll and dessert. To donate a basket, money or other items, call Marytheresa Buzzetta at 570-262-3845 or Gracelynn Williamson at 570-762-1387.
Additionally, the Pittston Twp. Fire Department is selling T-shirts to raise money for Prebish; to order, visit stores.inksoft.com/pittston_twp_fire/shop/home. People also can mail donations to Benefit for Richard “Mitch” Prebish, c/o Marytheresa Buzzetta, 408 Lincoln St., Dupont, PA 18641.
“Treatments are expensive and will continue after surgery, so donations would help ease the financial burden that has been incurred during this hard time,” his family said. “It will ease a little bit of the stress of worrying if they will be able to pay bills, have food to eat and keep a house over their heads.”
In her own words: “The support of others helps to make him keep fighting. Knowing that there are other people out there near and far supporting and rooting for him helps him to continue to gain strength and courage to push on. This support has lifted his spirits and helped him to know that he has made it this far (and) that he can beat this. He now sees that no one fights alone.” — the family of Richard “Mitch” Prebish
Caitlin Heaney West is the content editor for Access NEPA and oversees the Early Access blog in addition to working as a copy editor and staff writer for The Times-Tribune. An award-winning journalist, she is a summa cum laude graduate of Shippensburg University and also earned a master’s degree from Marywood University. Caitlin joined the Times-Shamrock family in 2009 and lives in Scranton. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5107; or @cheaneywest