We are writing today to ask our friends and family to help us in our efforts to raise funds for Philip DiCuollo, our dear brother, cousin and friend.
Here's Phil's story:
Let's start off with telling you about Phil. Phil was raised in South Plainfield and is my brother, and our cousin. He married his high school sweetheart, Patty and soon his daughter Gabrielle was born. Phil and his family moved to Brick about 20 years ago, but found the time to return home often and attend all of the family's get-togethers. For Phil, his beloved wife and daughter were the shining lights of his life. He was always around to help out his mom, sister, his niece and nephews as well as all of his aunts, uncles and cousins back in South Plainfield. A big guy with a big heart, Phil is a kind and generous friend to all.
Never one to rely on others, Phil built his successful business brick by brick, the American way! He utilized his knowledge and a little capital he earned driving trucks to build his own small business, Mr. Phil's Bail Bonds which he started about 20 years ago in Ocean County. He works for himself and is the sole earner for this business. Phil had achieved the American Dream, working for himself and with his daughter, Gabrielle entering college, he was ready to settle down and enjoy the fruits of his labor.
Just as Phil had reached "˜the top of the mountain', tragedy stuck. His wife, Patty, the love of his life, was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. As Patty faced this battle, it was up to Phil to stay strong while he faced mounting medical bills and insurance payments. This along with Gabrielle's college expenses took what savings they had. As Patty's condition worsened Phil needed to take time away from his business to care for her. While Patty was sick, Phil remained by her side as she did not want to be left alone and often Phil gave up work in order to stay with her. As you can imagine, many bail bonds happen in the early hours of the morning, this was Patty's worst time for pain, insomnia and anxiety. A little over two years ago, Patty lost her long and heart breaking battle with Pancreatic Cancer. Despite the best of care, her treatment depleted almost all of their resources.
After Patty's death, Phil and Gabrielle slowly picked up the pieces of their life; Phil began working tirelessly to rebuild his business and Gabrielle returned to College.
As life began to get on track with Phil trying to rebuild his business and Gabrielle working while trying to figure out her future career aspirations, tragedy once again hit them hard. In October of 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated their home. They had over 6 feet of water throughout their lower level, destroying it entirely. They lived upstairs with no power or water for several weeks. They were determined to rebuild their home; Phil was amazing, doing most of the work himself. Even now, nearly two years later, the house is still not yet finished but it is now "˜inhabitable'.
On April 13th 2014, just a few weeks ago, Phil noticed a rash all over his body. He hadn't been feeling well, but didn't think much of it. At the urging of his daughter, he went to the Emergency Room. He was told his blood counts were elevated and that he was very sick. He was transferred to Overlook Medical Center to the care of Dr. Michael Wax, Patty's Oncologist. It was then he received another tragic blow: he was diagnosed with Acute Myelocytic Leukemia and was immediately put on a month-long course of painful chemotherapy treatments in the hospital. His prognosis is good but he has a long, hard road ahead of him including a Bone Marrow transplant in the near future.
As the sole wage earner for his company, he relies on his weekly income to pay the bills. This stopped abruptly with the Leukemia Diagnosis; he was still digging out of tremendous debt incurred during Patty's long illness and the repairs to his home.
Phil is not a beggar, nor does he think of himself as a charity case, nor do we want him to feel that way. Those of us who love him encouraged and asked his permission to do a fundraiser on his behalf to help him during this difficult time. He agreed, and is eternally grateful for the help.
When you talk about life's hard knocks, he's been hit pretty hard. But we know that he will get through this! Thank you for taking the time to read this!
There are two ways you can help Phil.
We have set up this website on Gofundme.com where you can contribute using your credit card. They take a small percentage of the money (like 9%), but some prefer using a secure website like this rather than sending a check.
Please keep Phil and Gabrielle in your prayers!
Doreen DiCuollo Darr
Gabrielle Di Cuollo
Mary Lou Stiegelmayer
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