Debra and Lester Beyer are residents of Copenhagen, NY, a small town situated in a far northern portion of New York State. With its total population of approximately eight hundred people, the Beyers are known by all in the community for their love of life, generosity of spirit, and total dedication to one another. Because of their vibrant enthusiasm for life and commitment to supporting community members in countless ways, it is easy to state the Beyers are also friends with hundreds of other residents throughout the three county rural region of New York (Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence) in which their daily routines typically take place. Two passionate involvements which have allowed them to form further friendships with families across the entire United States are their raising and sled-training of purebred Siberian Huskies and their devotion for nearly forty years to martial arts training in American Kang Duk Won Karate. Debbie and Lester Beyer have both attained Master Black Belt status through their dedication and teaching skills in the Art of American Kang Duk Won Karate.
Lester Beyer served in the United States Marines upon graduating from Copenhagen Central High School. Debbie and Lester Beyer have remained continually supportive of events sponsored by American Legion Posts across Northern New York.
Devoted to one another in everything they do, Debbie and Lester Beyer have recently had to face nearly a year and a half of recurring difficulties which transpired following what was to have been a routine checkup for Debbie on June 21, 2015. An injury to her pancreas, caused by an internal examination that was conducted, resulted in Debbie developing severe necrotizing pancreatitis which nearly took her life. This condition left her unable to eat or digest food. It has also brought about a seemingly unending series of complications that have overwhelmed this truly caring and energetic country couple.
Debbie went in for a routine test in an effort to analyze an intestinal condition she had been experiencing. However, by 5:00 pm that evening, Debbie was in severe pain. She called her husband Lester who was working in a field on their land. He rushed her to the emergency room where the medical staff informed them it would be necessary for Debbie to be immediately transferred to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, NY.
Debbie’s condition rapidly deteriorated into severe necrotizing pancreatitis. By Saturday of that week, a mere five day later, she would be in the ICU fighting for her life. Dr. Thomas Certo and his ICU team at St. Joseph’s would save her life through a series of surgeries over the next two weeks to remove the dead tissue and damaged organs from her abdomen. She then remained in the ICU for two months. Throughout this entire time, Lester would not leave her side. Night and day he would be by her side singing her back, never giving up.
In October 2015, Debbie would finally leave the hospital to go home with a large open abdominal wound, multiple abdominal fistulas, and still only able to receive intro-venous nutrition. This minimal amount of IV nutrition was all Debbie could receive during her efforts to recover and prepare for more surgery to repair her intestines. Over the next nine months, Lester would change her wound, empty her drains, hook up her IV’s, and care for her in their home with the deepest of love.
On June 27, 2016, Debbie would be admitted to St. Francis Hospital on Long Island, Roslyn, NY, where she would undergo another surgery in an attempt to repair her intestines and to get her life back. What had initially appeared to be successful procedures resulted in a series of setbacks. More procedures were needed. Now, after more than three months of additional treatments, Debbie remains in the ICU at St. Francis Hospital under the care of a very compassionate and skilled surgeon, Dr. George Denoto, and a caring nursing and physicians’ team. Despite their best efforts, currently Debbie remains on IV nutrition, unable to eat, and still fighting multiple infections.
Mrs. Debbie Beyer has undergone numerous operations, withstood treatments to each of her vital internal organs, and has had to endure sedation for weeks at a time. She has been transferred from one specialized medical facility to another, each time being placed in the hospital’s Intensive Care Units. This has been done in an attempt to bring about a successful outcome to the persistent challenges she must still confront today. Throughout the months of her incredibly demanding illness, and the complex series of related conditions that have developed, her husband Lester has remained directly at Debbie’s side.
Debbie and Lester Beyer have always been the first to offer whatever was needed to those who may have required assistance or care of any kind. They are quick to lend a helping hand, to swing a hammer, fix a faucet, bake a casserole, or mow a field for others. Their family considers them, and their love, the glue that holds everyone altogether. The Beyers regularly volunteered to coordinate youth athletic and educational programs across the North Country. They have initiated fundraisers for civic and military organizations. Lester and Debbie taught fitness, safety, and martial arts lessons weekly as a part of after school activities offered by local school districts. However, for the past eighteen months these activities have all ceased, as have each of their regularly scheduled employment routines.
As a United States Marine Corps veteran, Lester Beyer has stayed steadfast in his loyalty to his Country, his Flag, and his Fellow Military Servicemen and Servicewomen. Lester’s loyalty in all he has done to ensure the strength and determination of his wife - through every difficulty she has experienced - is beyond compare! Even with each day’s uncertainties, Lester’s dedication and love have never wavered. During the most trying of times, Debbie and Lester have remained strong together.
At this time, Debbie is still a patient at St. Francis Hospital, approximately eight hours away from her home and closest family members and friends. Although cards, letters, and calls are regularly sent to Debbie and Lester Beyer, they remain mostly out of direct contact with those who would otherwise be personally calling upon them to offer daily assistance. The professional, social, and financial demands of the past year and a half have been carried completely on their own shoulders! Therefore, it is now vitally important to allow GoFundMe to be set in motion in an effort to extend to Debbie and Lester Beyer the same exceedingly positive message of support they always so willingly presented to anyone who was in need. Debbie and Lester Beyer’s family, friends, sled-dog companions, and fellow martial artists all wholeheartedly support this GoFundMe effort. It is with sincere hope that the blessings of good health will soon become felt once again by this very special woman, Master / Mrs. Debra Beyer.
If this narrative and its accompanying photographs have encouraged you to share a bit of yourself with Debra and Lester Beyer, please be assured they will truly appreciate your kindness. Your thoughtfulness will have created a friendship with this very special couple. Although their major interests of working on their farm land, being key members of their communities, caring for their Huskies, training in the martial arts (see their activities: http://www.americankangdukwon.org/anncmnts.html
) have all been put on hold over these past demanding months, know that your spirit and gift will have played a key role in Debbie’s daily progress.
With all Debbie has had to physically and emotionally endure, she realizes her progress must take place one fragile step at a time. The amazing support of the staff at St. Francis Hospital and the continued prayers extended to Debbie and Lester Beyer will help to bring about the next desired steps which will soon result in improved health and strength! With your assistance GoFundMe will make that difference!
“Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” - St. Francis of Assisi
May God’s Blessings remain close to Debra Beyer in her return to good health!