Who: Born and raised in Midland Park, New Jersey, Barbara Boogertman lives in Lakeville with her husband of more than 30 years — and her high school sweetheart — Dave. Family means everything to Barbara, and hers also includes three children — Alexa and husband, Joe; Lindsay and husband, James; and Jake — plus dogs, cats, chickens, a rabbit and a pig. She enjoys hiking, spending time with her loved ones and taking ballroom dancing classes with Dave.
But the 53-year-old also has spent her life helping others, according to her friends, Sue Goble and Melissa Jones. In addition to preparing kids for pre-school as an infant and toddler caregiver, Barbara teaches Sunday school, leads a church youth group and volunteers with her church in other ways. She and her husband also traveled to Honduras twice on humanitarian missions with Hawley United Methodist Church.
“She is an optimist, always trying to see the good in others,” her friends said. “She also has an amazing sense of humor with a flair for retelling funny stories. She is always the first one to go out of her way to help others.”
What: Just before Christmas, Barbara learned she has lung cancer, despite appearing healthy and frequently taking long hikes and kayaking up until her diagnosis. To combat the advanced metastatic cancer, Barbara is undergoing radiation treatment and chemotherapy, with doctors adjusting her treatment plan as needed. The journey from Lakeville to Scranton, where she receives most of her treatment, has been “quite daunting for her in her condition,” her friends said.
Why: The Boogertmans have had to adjust life in the wake of her diagnosis, with Dave quickly transforming their garage into a ground-floor bedroom for his wife because she can no longer walk upstairs. It also doubles as a family room where Barbara can see and eat with her children. To care for his wife, who can no longer handle daily activities on her own, Dave has had to stop working, even though he was the breadwinner for the family.
How: Barbara’s loved ones have planned several fundraisers for her. On Saturday, Feb. 27, they will hold a drive-through spaghetti dinner from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Hawley United Methodist Church, 315 Church St. While tickets are sold out, people can still donate items to the bake sale by emailing email@example.com. Then, on Saturday, March 6, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., they will hold “Cuts for a Cause” at Barb Wallace Hair Designs, 1319 Purdytown Turnpike, Paupack Twp., which will include haircuts and a raffle. For details, call Wallace at 570-226-6384.
They also plan to hold another fundraiser on Saturday, May 1, with the help of Lakeville Volunteer Fire Company, which Dave, the company’s deputy chief and president, has belonged to for more than 25 years. That event still is in the planning stages but is expected to include a gun raffle, buffet lunch and tricky tray raffle.
Additionally, the public can donate via the GoFundMe page, “Hearts & Hands Come Together for Barb Boogertman.” An account also has been set up for her at the Dime Bank; to donate, mail checks made out to the “Barbara Boogertman Benefit Fund” to Lakeville Volunteer Fire Company, Attn: Barb Boogertman fundraiser, 10 Daniels Road, Lakeville, PA 18438.
In their own words: “These donations mean the world to the family. They are the kind of people who would never ask for anything and are overwhelmed by the generous donations that have already been made. These donations mean that Dave can be by his wife’s side during this ordeal and still keep a roof over their heads, and Barbara’s copays and out-of-pocket insurance costs can be paid to keep receiving treatment. They mean peace of mind when the bills are due.” — Sue Goble and Melissa Jones, friends
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