Wheelchair van for Deb

My name is Chris and I'm one of Debbie' and Kevin's four kids. I'm writing this today on behalf of our entire family to try and bring one less stress to Kevin and Debbie's lives. 

Summer of 2019, after the passing of both Debbie's parents,  Debbie and her husband of 42 years, Kevin, began the process of remodeling her parents home with the idea that this house would become their home to enjoy as they both were nearing the age of retirement. Debbie was still working at the local post office, Kevin after many years of working for Channing Bete now found time to work on their new home when Channing Bete closed their doors for good. 

During the summer we began to notice Debbie's behavior change, her short term memory was getting worse and worse. Her balance seemed off, and her energy levels depleted at a rapid rate where she was spending most of her time sleeping and confused. Kevin sought out medical help to examine Debbie's condition due to her history with Diabetes. What was discovered during a scan of her brain was that she had Craniopharyngioma, a rare type of noncancerous (benign) brain tumor.

Given her symptoms she was fast tracked to Brigham and Women’s hospital where we as a family decided with her that she needed surgery to remove the mass. After many hours in surgery her medical team said it was a success and that we'd be able to visit her the next day. Next morning we were all amazed at just how well she was doing after such a huge operation, some of us had to leave after visiting with her to get back to our family and jobs with the idea that she'd be home in a few days.  

What happened later that night has lead to many months of heartache and flipped all our lives upside down. Deb experienced a brain bleed and went into a coma followed by months and months of recovery and rehab, you can read Kevin and Debbie's story here for a more details on what she's been through

Debbies path to recovery   

With the coronavirus surge we were not able to visit as much as we'd like, with a long stretch of time not being able to visit at all.  Needless to say it was tough having her way out in Boston in her condition and in the middle of a pandemic.

Debbie is now home after almost a year in the Spaulding rehab facility.   She works with Kevin and other visiting nurses weekly from home to hopefully regain her ability to sit, stand, do simple daily tasks, swallow, work on short term memory, and hopefully with time walk.

Nov 5th 2020, Debbie and Kevin headed back to Boston for a follow up with her medical team and another MRI scan to see how her brain was doing. Kevin hired a local transit authority with a chair van to transport them to Boston and back since they don't have a wheel chair van. While getting the MRI scan Deb got sick and vomited in the MRI machine (for unknown reasons she'll randomly have that happen) this obviously meant her appointment was running longer that expected. Kevin communicated with the driver that things were running late and he'd be in touch as things progressed. Results of the MRI revealed that Debbie's tumor had already started growing back and further treatment was necessary.

After a long mental and psychically trying day for both Kevin and Debbie. Kevin messaged the driver saying they were ready to leave. The drivers response, he had already left, abandoning Kevin and Debbie 3 hours from home with no options.  Neither the local transit authority or the driver ever told Kevin that the driver was leaving. With family 3 hours away and her need for her meds/feed tube/ hospital bed and hospitals full ( many being Covid-19 patients), staying anywhere but home wasn't an option. Only with the help of hospital staff they were able to arrange a ride home in from a local ambulance company and arrive many hours later. 

Deb's next line of treatment will be radiation, meaning many trips back and forth for several weeks. We're in the process of learning exactly what treatment will entail but one thing is for sure, we want to do anything we can for our amazing parents.  

Kevin isn't one who likes to ask for help so we decided to venture this route and see if we help them.

Our goal is to try to help our parents acquire a wheelchair van so that we can get mom to the treatments she needs without the added stress and cost of trying to find transportation. Her treatments need to start asap so the sooner we can make this happen the better. We've already located a chair van in NH that we think will be perfect for both of them so anything anyone can do will go a long way to helping us offset the $28,000 cost of the van.

We greatly appreciate anything anyone can do to help.


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  • Linda Magee 
    • $100 
    • 6 hrs
  • Becky Richotte 
    • $50 
    • 1 d
  • Deb + Guy Wheeler 
    • $200 
    • 2 d
  • Geraldine Poirier 
    • $25 
    • 12 d
  • Kathy and Ray Nicholas 
    • $72 
    • 12 d
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Chris Gilbert 
Colrain, MA
Kevin Gilbert 
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