When I met Jackie Mendolia it was 1992. We started at the same company together, AOC Accountants on Call. She had been recently married to Joe and we hadn't known each other for more than a few weeks when she found out she was pregnant with Amanda.
22 years have gone by and I can say with the most heartfelt conviction that Jackie and Joe are two of the best parents and people I have ever known. They have always put their girls first no matter what life was serving up. They found a way to provide even when Joe's modest tile business dealt with the ebbs and flows of an unforgiving economy. They supported the girls through a gazillion softball games. Instead of spending money on themselves they made sure to invest in Florida's prepaid college plans. Their boundless love for their children raised three kind, happy, educated, well adjusted, loving and absolutely beautiful girls. The Mendolia family has lived a modest lifestyle : their wealth has come in the form of love and laughter : and until recently that was enough.
On Friday, February 7th I was on the phone with Jackie. She let me babble on for 10 minutes about my birthday weekend before she finally said "Deb, Joe has cancer." And in that one second I knew that their life had taken a swift blow. He was admitted to the hospital just a few days earlier with what they thought was bronchitis.
Over the last two months Joe has started chemotherapy treatments. Their daughter, Taylor, expedited her graduation from high school to help care for him. Of course Joe is not working and the family has lost its main source of income. This catastrophic event had shattered the family finances.
I know my goals are lofty but I can think of no family more deserving than Jackie, Joe, Jessica, Amanda and Taylor to receive the kindness of others. I am hoping to be able to raise enough money to help them pay off their house and provide much needed financial relief so that they can all focus on Joe's fight against cancer.
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