A fundraiser has been formed to assist Jerry Holbert, former Editorial/Political Cartoonist, and his wife Cheryl of Derry, NH as they battle the devastating diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia. The fund has been set up at gf.me/u/w7i5zx.
The fundraiser is formed by members of the Holbert’s faith community, Congregation Ruach Israel in Needham, MA. The fundraising goal is $60,000 to support ongoing care for Jerry and the professional help he needs. Cheryl cannot be Jerry's only caretaker - he needs professional help. Here are the associated costs: Weekday Care: $132/day with transport x 5 days/week = $660/week = $2,640/mo. Weekend Care: One weekend day per week is $272 which is $1088/mo. TOTAL care for 2020 is $3,728/mo or an annual sum of $44,736. Expected out of pocket Medical expenses for 2020 are $15,000.
Jerry is a fun, lighthearted and kind husband and father. Jerry was an editorial/political cartoonist for the Boston Herald and the Syndicate for the last 33 years. Cheryl is a Wonder Woman full of life and spontaneity. As an artist, a dancer, a baker, and a mother, Cheryl's child-like enthusiasm for life is contagious. Together as a couple, they embodied life. They took joy in bringing home- baked bread, meals and laughter to so many.
A few years ago something started to change for Jerry. First, he started repeating stories. Gradually, his normally fun and witty humor made less sense. He started slowly losing social inhibitions and normal social behaviors.
After a long road of prayer, testing, misdiagnosing, and questions, Jerry was finally diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in 2019 - a rare form of dementia where portions of the brain shrink (atrophy) leading to devastating personality and behavioral changes. There is no medical cure. “Sixty Minutes” recently did a report on frontotemporal dementia calling it "Devastating, prevalent and little understood.”
Cheryl is an award winning baker featured in ‘AAA’ magazine for her artisan baking skills. Before Jerry's diagnosis, Cheryl was about to increase her baking business to help bring in supplemental income for the family. Her ability to make baking bread a sustainable source of income is critical and with Jerry’s illness, this has been extremely difficult. Not only must she attend to his needs with her time, drive to all the medical appointments since he can no longer drive, but the medical bills have been staggering and impossible to pay without his ability to work.
Jerry needs constant supervision. In addition to the devastation associated with her husband slowly slipping away to this debilitating disease, Cheryl must wrestle with tremendous medical expenses and logistics. And an even greater obstacle, the very real threat of losing their home, which is also the base of her bread business.