Highland rallies for Christine Bertolino
By Susan Hallock
ELDRED American Legion Ambulance Corps Captain Charles Myers is the first to say that, when the call goes out, Patricia Friedrich is always ready to answer.
Now, the Highland community is ready to answer Friedrich in her time of need. Friedrich’s daughter, Christine Bertolino, is once again battling cancer, and will need surgery.
Friedrich is a member of the American Legion Ambulance Corps and the Yulan Fire Department Auxiliary, and both organizations are stepping up to help Friedrich and her daughter.
Ambulance Corps member Kathy Sweeny and her daughter Doreen are organizing the spaghetti dinner to be held on December 13 at 5 p.m. at the Yulan Firehouse, and both are hoping for a huge turnout. “Pat and her daughter, as well as her family, are great people, and we just wanted to help them out … to help offset the cost of the medical bills, traveling expenses and household expenses,” said Kathy Sweeny. “To have this all happen just before the holidays is tough on the family, and we wanted to help them in some small way and our community always comes out to help a person in need. That is what a small community is all about.”
Patricia Friedrich, who helps take care of her granddaughter Charley so Christine’s husband Sal can be at the hospital, is speechless of the outpouring of support for her family.
“Chrissy had ovarian cancer when she was only 13 and she fought that and won, and now she is battling this malignancy on the liver and we are praying for her every day,” Friedrich said.
The family learned of Chrissy’s malignancy when she began to lose weight suddenly and was in extreme pain. She was immediately taken to Bon Secours Hospital.
“When we got to Bon Secours’ Dr. Brody examined Chrissy and immediately pointed us in the direction we had to take,” said Friedrich. “He knew it was serious but treatable, and that [treatment] had to be done as soon as possible.
“We were seeing other doctors before we ended up in the emergency room, but they just were not helpful until we saw Dr. Brody and Dr. Daboul and they have been awesome. They are our angels on earth,” she added.
Chrissy is currently awaiting surgery at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in the Bronx and her spirits are up and positive, according to Pat.
Charley is a 3rd grader at Mackenzie Elementary in Glen Spey, and Chrissy is hoping to be home with her daughter and family for Christmas, one of her favorite holidays.
“When the surgery is done Chrissy will have to stay in the hospital for two to three weeks,” Friedrich said. “Chrissy keeps her spirits up but I know she is worried about the bills and we help when we can, but it can be tough at times.”