Their home is a lively, joyous and welcoming place to be, filled with the sounds of singing, laughter and doors opening and closing as kids traipse through and adults pop in for coffee. If they weren’t at home, then it is a pretty safe bet that Norman and Laura were off rehearsing or performing in local theater productions, Norman attending a stamp club meeting, Macey out looking for his first part-time job and getting ready for his first year at Pottsgrove High School, Laura presiding at a meeting of the Pottstown Recreation Group for the Blind and holding her family together with strength, order, humor and faith.
But now they need our help.
On the afternoon of May 19, just as Macey was arriving home from school, his father was suffering a severe stroke. Due to the rapid response of his family, Norm was able to reach the local stroke unit at Reading Hospital by ambulance very quickly and was administered the ‘clot buster’ drug TPA, but it was not able to clear the clot. Norman needed a neurosurgery procedure, with no neurosurgeon on call that day who could perform it. He was airlifted to Jefferson Hospital, the only option to save his life. The neurosurgeon at Jefferson was able to remove the clot, saving his life and making it possible for Norm to have a chance at recovery.
Norm made remarkable progress post-op physically - the stroke affected mainly memory and speech. After being released from the hospital, Norman began speech therapy to help him regain the ability to communicate. His hearing loss prior to the stroke was an inconvenience (and frequently a source of good-natured humor with his family) but now it is holding back his recovery; his therapist is having a hard time distinguishing between hearing loss and functional language loss due to the stroke. The type of hearing aid that he needs costs $6000, and hearing aids are not covered by Medicare or co-insurance.
The Cohn Family have been able to make ends meet by living modestly and frugally. Their source of income is a small pension Norman receives from his 38 years of work at Pitney Bowes and Social Security. They do not indulge in luxuries like vacations and cable TV. They prioritize need over want, and often have to prioritize needs as well. They are still paying for medical expenses from a car accident 6 years ago and Norman’s knee replacement 5 years ago.
With the cost of Norm’s life saving medical treatment added to the pile, they are overwhelmed. There are about $9,000 in expenses, after insurance, just for the stroke incident and the immediate after care. Adding in the hearing aids and the previous medical expenses and the cost rises to $18,000. Norman will need to continue speech therapy for a year, which is about $100 a week, after insurance. They are hoping to raise $25,000 over the next 6 months to offset the accumulating medical expenses.
Norm’s family is so grateful to have him home again, and he has been making progress. He is working hard at his speech therapy in spite of the difficulty his hearing poses. His family is coping as best as they can, but need a little help to get over the worry of the looming medical bill crisis. They are working towards the day when they can hear Norm singing silly songs and show tunes around the house again.
Any financial help you can give is greatly appreciated. If you can't donate funds directly, perhaps consider donating in another way to help offset household expenses. Some needed items include: yardwork, donation of a lawnmower (so we can put Macey to work!), minor household/plumbing repairs, and an iPad for Norm to use in his speech therapy.
- Mary Doyle
- Kathleen Matchunis
- Barbara Newberry
- Lynn Snyder
Organizer and beneficiary
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