Don Roberts, mayor, chats with Edgerton residents Pat and Dee Marcus on January 18 at Edgerton City Hall. Staff photo by Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
Pat and Denise Marcus have been married for 29 years. They moved to Edgerton 13 years ago as first time home buyers, attracted to the quiet small town life of Edgerton.
A couple of years before that, Denise Marcus had been diagnosed with Myotonic dystrophy (DM), a form of muscular dystrophy.
The word myotonic is the adjective for the word myotonia, an inability to relax muscles at will. The disorder can also affect organs, including the heart and lungs, and can cause problems with cognitive function and vision.
When they bought their house and moved to Edgerton, Pat had a good job as a business system analyst in the telecom industry, and Denise was able to get around well enough that he could go to work without too much worry.
Over the years Denise got used to occasional falls and says she would just get up, dust herself off and go on. She’d get bumps and bruises but nothing too serious. For the most part, she was spared the more serious problems of the disorder.
In late 2015 Pat lost his job of 18 years due to downsizing. He had severance pay coming afterwards and thought that would carry them until he was employed again.
Unfortunately, Denise’s condition worsened during this time. It was becoming more and more difficult for her to get around. Her muscles would lock up without warning and she would go down.
In January 2017, Denise fell and broke her leg in two places. Ten weeks later, she fell again and broke that same leg in a different place. This time she had to have surgery.
Now, she has numerous artificial pins and supports in the ankle, up the leg, into the knee – virtually every bone in that lower leg has implanted support.
A year after the original break, her leg still isn’t healed. The leg is healing – just slowly. Pat Marcus says that because of the DM, her healing is the rate of a person decades older.
With help, she’s able to get up on a walker now, but simply getting up and moving from one room to another is a major task – one that she should not attempt alone. To add to the frustration, her wheelchair won’t fit through the bathroom doorway.
As daunting as learning to cope with a progressive disease is, the immediate urgent crisis is financial. The medical bills accumulated during this time consumed the couple’s financial resources.
“We didn’t have insurance and we were paying out of pocke,” says Pat Marcus.
Pat had decided that Denise’s medical needs were top priority and he paid up their medical bills, however in the process they have fallen far behind in their mortgage payments.
They are now receiving notices that the mortgage company ‘intends to foreclose.’ This is standard mortgage company notification that basically means – the foreclosure has not technically started yet, but time is running out to prevent it.
They don’t know where they would go if they lose their home. They don’t have any family capable of taking them in, he said.
The Marcus’s are uncomfortable with asking for help, but they are in the position where there seems to be few options.
At the suggestion of friends, Pat set up a internet page asking for donations to help them save their house. The internet address is: www.gofundme.com/p2pq7-save-our-house
Donations by mail can be sent to Pat Marcus, PO Box 163, Edgerton KS 66021.
As of Jan. 22, they had raised $6,320 in donations towards a goal of $8,000. After an initial burst, donations have slowed, while time to reach the goal is running out.
“This is an opportunity for the community to help the community. Edgerton’s a great community that stands up and gets things done in a time it’s needed. I think when people get the message, they’ll see that,” said Don Roberts, Edgerton mayor, after sitting in on the interview with the Marcus’s.
Roberts said fixing the mortgage situation is first and foremost, but if that immediate problem can be resolved, he believes the community may be able to help the Marcus’s out in other ways in the future.
The couple is already grateful for the help they’ve gotten over the past year from neighbors and townspeople, and from the response from the fundraising page. They describe it as humbling and amazing.
Despite being in a dire situation, Pat and ‘Dee’ Marcus remain hopeful that they’ll find a way to stay in their house long term.