FAMILIES YOU HAVE HELPED
Dimitri Tytla is the 16 year old son of Sophia Lashchyk-Tytla and Andrew Tytla, 24-year residents of Metuchen. Dimitri’s sister Olenka graduated from Metuchen High School in 2016. The Tytla family has been involved in the Metuchen community and schools, PTO, soccer, baseball, Junebug and other organizations.
Dimitri is suffering from the effects of chronic Lyme and Bartonella diseases. Born in 2001, he’s gone through the Metuchen School System up until 8th grade. He then attended Saint Joseph High School, where he played volleyball, worked the broadcast booth for ice hockey, participated in YAG and other clubs. Half-way through his sophomore year, the tick-borne illnesses he beat back in 2013 and 2015 resurfaced. He has not been able to attend school since mid-February. He is unable to walk, in near constant pain with trouble focusing, eating and sleeping. He's been visiting multiple specialists. He has been confined to a wheelchair and bed-ridden since May and currently awaiting next steps for treatment: in-Patient physical rehabilitation and a year's worth of IV Antibiotics and/or IVIG treatment.
His mother Sophia has gone on family leave from her job at Covance to help care for him, shuttling to multiple daily and weekly physical therapy and doctor visits. His father Andy started a permanent job with Prudential Financial in April 2016 (after performing contract/temporary work since 2009). Their daughter Olenka is in her sophomore year at Boston University.
The family appreciates the support from Saint Joseph High School including a dedicated prayer at the last assembly of the school year
(https://youtu.be/qCPwcKjY2GU). He is now registered at Metuchen High School as a sophomore but will continue home instruction until he is able to rejoin school as his treatment and/or recovery allow. He is especially grateful for his Metuchen friends and former classmates who have reached out to him and/or visited over the Spring and Summer months. Dimitri and his family appreciate the help and kindness from family, friends and neighbors who have visited to give him some company, or sent cards/gifts to cheer him up. His recovery is expected to be long but we pray he recovers and is able to walk again.
Steven Jacobson, is the 2 year old son of John and Katie Jacobson and younger brother to Gina Kish, an 8th grader at Edgar Middle School. As lifelong Metuchen residents, the Jacobson family has been a thread within the community, as parishioners at St Francis Cathedral, and true friends to many local families. Steven's grandparents started their family here over 30 years ago, they still own The Amboy Deli today. Steven's father John and his two younger siblings have spent the entirety of their childhood growing up in the Brainy Boro.
On the evening of February 7th 2017 Steven's mother Katie, also a nurse, discovered a large abdominal tumor at home while changing Steven's diaper. She was devastated as she knew what this meant for her little boy and their entire family. Steven was admitted to Robert Wood Johnson Children's Hospital with the diagnosis of Wilm's Tumor, within 24 hours his cancerous tumor, along
with his kidney, and a portion of his large intestine were removed. He truly received world class care and attention.
Wilm's is a rare form of kidney cancer primarily affecting children under age 3. These tumors are often large and rapidly growing, there are no symptoms associated with the tumor, for example Steven's was softball sized when it was discovered. Even after three weeks in the hospital and two major abdominal surgeries one could not detect any discomfort or lack of personality as Steven's vivacious, curious, and energetic nature shined through even now while currently experiencing weekly rounds of chemotherapy.
We look forward to all the world has in store for little Steven. He continues to brighten everyone's day, he truly is a most exceedingly special child. He likes listening to the Beatles and the Jackson five at chemotherapy while playing with his fraternity brothers. He is an honorary brother at Phi Delta Theta of Rutgers University.
We thank Nancy and The Fuccile Foundation in their efforts for such an amazing cause to help families in time of crisis. We are eternally grateful to our family, friends, and neighbors for their support and the kindness they have all shown us during the most challenging time in our lives.
Thank you all!
The Baginski Family has lived in Metuchen for the past 11 years. They have two children, Elizabeth an 8th grader at Edgar Middle School, and Allison, a 6th grader also at Edgar. Thom has had a long career as a Creative Director at a number of Advertising Agencies in New York. Donna has been an employee in a number of roles at the Metuchen/Edison YMCA, including Group Exercise, Personal Training, and as a trainer for the Livestrong at the YMCA Cancer program. They are parishioners at St. Francis Cathedral in Metuchen.
In November of 2015, Thom was diagnosed with a brain tumor in the cerebellum. In November of 2016 it became life threatening as it had grown, causing extensive swelling and fluid buildup on the brain and was compressing on the 4th ventricle of the brain. He needed surgery to save his life. Unfortunately as a result of the surgery, he has suffered significant cognitive and physical impairments. The pathology findings indicate his tumor was a mixed glioma and while it was benign, caused extensive complications and may require chemotherapy and radiation in the future. Unfortunately many brain tumors have a high recurrence rate. Thom spent a month and a half at JFK Hospital, the majority of it in the Brain Trauma unit. He was sent home from the hospital and Donna has been his primary caregiver. He is on an intensive course of physical, occupational and speech therapies. He's had to relearn how to do simple talks as walking, speaking, writing, and swallowing. He needs assistance in virtually all of his activities of daily living. Thom suffers from dysarthria - speech impairment from the brain trauma of the surgery. He also suffers from dysphagia - a swallowing disorder also a result of the surgery. Thom has silent aspiration which means fluids and foods go into his lungs instead of the esophagus and he will begin an aggressive treatment to address this. Another result of the trauma is double vision and convergence insufficiency - a visual disorder that will be treated with intensive vision therapy.
The family has had to learn to adjust to this sudden change in their lives as a result of the challenges brought on by the tumor and surgery. The emotional and financial impact has been difficult and overwhelming, and while Thom is making some recovery - the future remains uncertain and will undoubtedly be a very long journey. Their children have had to adjust to having a very different family life and a disabled father.
The Baginski family is grateful to Nancy Fuccile and the Fuccile Foundation for their role in providing aid for them. The Baginski family is also very grateful to all the members of the community who have been helping them out by watching their kids, taking their kids to social outings, providing meals, etc. We are very blessed during this difficult time.
Mike Shaver, a father of three, was diagnosed with a large abdominal aortic aneurysm on September 30, 2016. Surgery was scheduled for October 21, but five days after the aneurysm was diagnosed, it suddenly burst. His wife, Julie, was at work in New York at the time. His son, Greg, a sophomore at Metuchen High School, immediately called 911.
After emergency surgery, Mike spent 48 days in the Critical Care Unit at JFK, and other 46 days in intensive care at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Rahway, every day with Julie by his side, his daughter, Lauren, in touch by phone from SC, and his son, Brad, regularly flying home from college in Georgia to see his dad and help with his younger brother. After two months of progressive and miraculous recovery, Mike died on January 8, 2017.
"Watching our neighbor, Nancy Fuccile, pressing forward these last few years with outward strength and resilience in the face of extreme tragedy has been an inspiration to me," Julie said, "but you never think anything bad will happen to your family."
Julie advises couples to prioritize organizing important documents and information, including passwords, security questions, powers of attorney, advance directives, wills, insurance and beneficiaries, and for each partner to understand the household tasks the other accomplishes on a regular basis. "Wrapping your brain around complex financial paperwork, accounts and home maintenance is tough enough when things are going good," Julie said. "The last thing you're going to want to deal with when tragedy happens is trying to figure out the name of your husband's first pet or what he might have said was his favorite character in a novel."
Julie is grateful to the people of Metuchen, especially the Fuccile Foundation and the members of the First Presbyterian Church, for financial help as well as help with medical insurance advocacy, meals, rides, plane tickets, funeral expenses and more.
"The Fuccile Foundation and the Metuchen community showed us that a small town in New Jersey can have a meaningful impact on a family facing tragedy," Julie said. "We can't thank you enough."
Ingrid Winters grew up in Metuchen and is a Special Education teacher in Scotch Plains. Ingrid is a dear person and friend to many. She is married to Robert Taylor and together they have two beautiful sons Hayden, 10 and Layne, 7.
Ingrid's journey started in 2015 with a diagnosis of DCIS breast cancer. At that time, Ingrid underwent a lumpectomy and received radiation treatment. In February of this year, Ingrid's mammogram showed the devastating news that her cancer came back. Weeks were spent having tests, biopsies, and multiple doctor’s opinions on how to proceed. On April 26th, Ingrid had a mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction during an 11.5 hour surgery. She is so happy to be back home recovering and healing with her family around her.
At present, she is awaiting further treatment plan recommendations from her medical team. Ingrid's family is grateful to have a community that can rally around her and support them at this time. Metuchen is so fortunate to have an organization like the Fuccile Foundation to allows families touched by illness to make connections with others in the community. Fuce5 provides the opportunity to offset the balance of discomforts and financial stress so many families face. Giving back and embracing families, smiling and cheering them on in support...Thank you to all the participants and donors to the Fuce5!!!!!
The Miller Family have been residents of Edison for 18 years.
Renee Miller is a 48 year old Wife and Mother of 3 who has been diagnosed with Stage 4 terminal Breast Cancer. All 3 children are high level Athletes and compete all year long. Her Daughter Mandy is a Central Jersey Allstar Cheerleader who competed on a Worlds level 5 team. This year Mandy and her team placed 6th in the WORLD in the toughest division in the sport. Her Twin Brother Brett is an Allstar baseball player, Talented Football player and State Champion Wrestler. Jack Jr. their older Brother is also an extremely driven and talented Athlete who plays Football and Wrestles for Edison High. He is also a music lover especially of classic rock and has a love for history. Jack Sr. Work's for Weldon Material in Scotch Planes for the past 20 years. He works between 50 and 60 hours weekly. All while coaching football, wrestling and volunteering in the community.
Renee's cancer is spreading quickly and since her first diagnosis in April 2015 it has metastasized to the sternum, shoulders, pelvis, hips, femur, neck, skull and throughout her entire spine. Just a few weeks ago she got the news that it has now invaded her liver. The tumors are too numerous to count and her liver function is worsening. Chemo therapy is not working and Renee and her Family are seeking alternative treatment. However, insurance will not cover non conventional treatment. Many of the alternative programs are showing great result, even curing patients that where given only months to live. Renee's only wish is to live long enough to see her kids grow up and be there for them. Seeing them go to College, get married and even have babies of their own. Even though Dr's here in the U.S say she is not curable. There are Dr. 's who are willing to treat her and believe they can cure her. She just wants the chance to try.