Who: Debra Perrier grew up in Yaphank on Long Island, New York, but for the last four years has called Northeast Pennsylvania home. Now living in Archbald with her husband and best friend, Fred, who called her “an amazing lady,” she has remained active as a volunteer despite becoming disabled two years ago. Energetic and determined to help her community through the Red Cross, Deb enjoyed supporting the organization, especially as a duty officer sending teams to help victims of fires and natural disasters.
What: In December, however, Deb had to slow down after she started feeling ill. The week before Christmas, she learned she has Stage 3 cancer of the esophagus and stomach. She has had chemotherapy and radiation treatment to try to shrink what Fred called a large tumor, and she will undergo a PET scan later this month to check the progress.
“If the tumor hasn’t shrunk and is inoperable, they said she has about two years left with me,” Fred said. “If the surgeon is willing to operate, that will buy us time, and it may be a long shot, but it could be a cure.”
Seeing his normally active and happy wife now weak and in pain, too tired to do much besides rest on the couch, has been difficult for Fred. She subsists on soup and baby food, the only products that “do not cause her intense pain while eating,” he said, and already has lost 60 pounds.
Why: In addition to facing all of Deb’s medical issues, the Perriers needed to get their car repaired and initially started a GoFundMe page to cover those costs. It ended up needed more repairs than expected and still needs extra work, Fred said. At the same time, Deb has daily treatment with costs continually growing. The price of her medicines increased after her insurance changed, and Fred said he does not know how they will afford it all.
“We need help in so many areas it is scary,” he said. “We have never asked for help until now, but if it wasn’t needed, we wouldn’t do it.”
How: The public can donate through a GoFundMe page, “Beat Cancer,” or by mailing contributions to the Perriers at 524C N. Main St., Archbald, PA 18403.
In his own words: “I love my wife and want her to be comfortable and happy for her future with no worries about food and medication and the car falling apart around us. Any help and prayers would be greatly appreciated.” — Fred Perrier, husband
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: email@example.com; 570-348-9100 x5107; or @cheaneywest