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North Hills Monthly

Community Comes Together to Repair Home of Woman with MS

Dec 30, 2015 10:50AM ● By Clare Heekin Lynch

Barbara Loreski

Barbara Loreski
North Hills’ resident Barbara Loreski is a proud woman, but progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS) has made it hard for her to stay positive. “I have always worked hard to own my own home and keep up with everything, but my disability has contributed to financial hardships and has made it almost impossible to keep up with basic home repairs,” she explained. “This has caused me even more stress and worsened my health.”

Hearing of her plight, Jeff Weinberg, owner of Senior Assistance, a geriatric and chronic disability advocacy agency that is contracted with the MS Society, stepped in. “When we first learned of Ms. Loreski’s situation, it was for mortgage assistance, so I contacted George Payne, a mortgage specialist with Federated Mortgage Corp.,” he said. “George stepped in and worked with her home and insurance providers to make sure that she had the coverage she needed at payments that she could afford.”

When Jeff and George visited with the homeowner, however, they realized that she needed more—a new ramp to make her home more accessible. “Ms. Loreski would use her walker to go up and down the stairs outside of her home, making for a dangerous situation,” said Weinberg. “We knew that we needed to build her a ramp.”

The men started making some calls, the first of which was to Home Depot in Ross Township. “We knew that it would cost around $500 to build the ramp, and the manager offered to donate $200 worth of supplies,” said Payne. “We then called Tony Kendall of Mr. Handyman of Wexford to ask if he could help with building the ramp. He said that he had been wanting to do more charitable work and agreed to donate his time and expertise.”

The group still needed more money for supplies, so after some discussion, Payne decided to try crowdfunding to raise the remaining funds. “My family and friends all came together and raised $525 in just a few days,” he said. “It was amazing!”

Ready to move forward, Payne set the work date, only to find that another friend had made some calls and Home Depot had now offered to pay for all of the supplies. “It was incredible to learn this, because it meant that we now had money to give Ms. Loreski to put toward other repairs, including plumbing issues, so that she wouldn’t have to sacrifice money that was used for food and utilities,” he said.

In one day, the ramp was built, much to Loreski’s delight. “Because of people like these gentlemen, I feel that I am worthy,” she shared. “As a result of all of this kindness, my spirits have been lifted, and my outlook and health have improved. This healing is more than can be seen...hope, faith, kindness, caring...the healing runs deep, beyond comprehension.

“Knowing that there are others who do so without question, without hesitation, without judgment, and who just care and show others that they do deserve better in life proves that human kindness still exists,” she continued. “It has touched me and is giving me, and others, hope that together we can overcome and see difficulties through, and it has helped me become a better person by finding ways to pay it forward.

“We are all in this together,” she added. “And together, we are happier, safer, healthier and stronger.”