MASSENA - When Mark Fregoe was admitted to Massena Memorial Hospital in early June due to severe abdominal pains, doctors initially thought it was a hernia. What they soon discovered was far more serious.
Mr. Fregoe underwent major abdominal surgery. This already serious health issue became more of a nightmare when doctors found out that he did not have health insurance.
Angela Premo has known Mr. Fregoe for over a decade and is spearheading a fundraising effort to help him meet his financial challenges. Ive known Mark for 14 years, and Ive been close with him for the past five years. He is a cook at Nanas Kitchen, which my mother owns. Were a very close family so were all in the restaurant a lot. Hes very family oriented as well, like my family, Ms. Premo said.
This Saturday there will be a jamboree held at the Moose Lodge in Massena to help raise money and assist Mr. Fregoe and his family with the ever growing medical expenses. The event will be from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will feature live entertainment, lots of food and a 50/50 raffle.
We have a host band performing, the Oshier Country Band. Basically what they do is they book a whole bunch of other bands for the day, Ms. Premo said. I think were at 40 different people that have donated. Theyre not money donations but items for the raffle. Weve got some big ticket items like a big screen TV.
There is a Facebook page with details regarding the event ,which has nearly 50 confirmed guests.
Some people have confirmed and over 600 people were invited. We have 50 people saying theyre going, but that doesnt include people who havent confirmed yet but have told me theyre going. Were hoping for well over 100, she said.
Other than the jamboree, Ms. Premo and the Massena community have been working hard to raise money and receive donations in various other ways. There is a jug at Nanas Kitchen collecting money and Ms. Premo said that over $200 has been donated so far. Additionally, Ms. Premo and her mother have set up an account at NBT to benefit Mr. Fregoe.
Though Mr. Fregoe is at home now, he is still not able to work. Back in June Ms. Premo was directly involved with the trips to and from the emergency room everything and was terrified that she would lose her friend.
One day he had so much pain that he was bowled over. We brought him to the emergency room. He was in Massena Hospital for a while and ICU for a while, Ms. Premo said.
After being discharged from the hospital, the pain continued so he was brought back.
I brought him back to Massena Hospital ... It was not looking good ..., she said. They ended up airlifting him to Burlington (Vt.) In Burlington they had to re-operate because of the infection. He was there for about two weeks.
Ms. Premo explained that they dont know how much will be needed to cover all of the medical care, but just one of the items he needs for his on-going care cost $250 per week.
Mr. Fregoe, 33, lives in Massena with his fiancee, Ashley Steinberg-Trimm. He also has three sons (ages 15, 12, and 10) and a baby daughter, whom he adopted in the last year and a half.
Ms. Premo is optimistic about her close friends prognosis and hopes that the community will continue to support him in any way they can.
If all goes well, in six months to a year, he would go back to Burlington to see if he can have a reversal surgery ... I know Mark personally. Hes a very caring man. Hed do anything for anyone, and hes always shown that. Everyone in the community knows and likes him from the kitchen, she said.
For more information on the jamboree or how to donate, contact Angela Premo at 842-0205 or at email@example.com or Tammy Dishaw at 842-5221.