Newlyweds Gregory and Madeline Polcer purchased a handyman special in Wantagh three-and-a-half years ago. With the little money leftover after buying the house, they went through fertility treatments in order to have children. Now, with two children, Madeline is widowed after her husband quickly lost a battle against cancer.
The Polcer family; Gregory, Madeline and Sarah.
Gregory was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer in late February. A little over 10 weeks later, he died in his wife's arms. Madeline was seven-and-a-half months pregnant at the time. Just before his death, Madeline's sister recalled visiting Gregory and Madeline in his hospital room.
"With faces full of fear they kept repeating 'we have to sell the house,' " Glen Cove resident Linda Genzel said.
Genzel went on to say the cause was mounting medical bills that currently total over $500,000 and insurance will not cover it.
"This is not right," Genzel said. "You don't pay insurance for 15 years to find out that when you really need it, it's not there for you."
Gregory did not have a life insurance policy, however, through his butcher's union, his family received about $15,000 in death benefits.
"And the funeral cost $14,000 to have," Genzel explained.
Madeline's pregnancy was high risk, preventing her from earning an income. She gave birth to her and Gregory's second child, Emma on July 1. Due to the harrowing events of the past few months, the baby was born stressed with breathing problems and remains in the neonatal intensive care unit.
"It is really difficult to sit on the sidelines and watch your baby sister fall apart," Genzel said.
Madeline has been relying on her sisters and parish, St. Frances de Chantal Church for food.
Director of Parish Social Ministry Ele Fritsch appealed to local merchants on behalf of Madeline and her family in a letter.
"The family needs all the help they can get in order to ease their financial burden. If we all give a little, it will make a big difference," Fritsch wrote in the May 13 letter.
Furthermore, there will be a dinner on July 21 at 6:30 p.m. at La Bella Palermo on Main Street in Babylon. Sixty dollars per person includes buffet dinner, appetizers, wine, beer and soda.
Later, St. Frances de Chantal Church and Genzel's parish and St. Patrick Church of Glen Cove will be jointly hosting a golf outing on Aug. 15 at the Glen Cove Golf Course on Lattingtown Road. The fund-raiser is sponsored in part by Century 21 Your Home Wantagh and Century 21 Prevet Wantagh. County Executive and Glen Cove resident Tom Suozzi is scheduled to attend.
"I am thankful that I will have an opportunity to participate at the event to raise money for the Polcers," Suozzi stated. "This is the time for all of us to help Madeline and her young family. I hope that our entire community will support this effort."
Senator Hillary Clinton was also invited to attend the fund-raiser. According to a spokesperson in her press office, Senator Clinton is assisting the Polcer family in a few different ways.
"Senator Clinton's office is currently working to help resolve the issue of the outstanding balance for Madeline's late husband's hospital bills," the spokesperson said. "Presently, her office is working with representatives from both the hospital and her insurance company to see if they can achieve a positive resolution in this very difficult situation."
The fund-raiser will begin at 7:45 a.m. with a shotgun start. The cost is $200 per person and includes registration, breakfast buffet, 18 holes of golf and cart and lunch at the Metropolitan on Glen Cove Road in Glen Cove. For those interested in having lunch only, the cost is $75 per person and is at 12:30 p.m. There will also be a hole-in-one contest for a chance to win a GMC Envoy, a beat the pro 50/50 and Play the County Executive 50/50, closest to the pin longest drive.
For further details or sponsorship information call Ele Fritsch at 785-2333, ext. 214. The date to RSVP will be Aug. 5. Checks should be made payable to St. Frances de Chantal Church Outreach. Mail RSVP for golf to Linda Genzel, 4 September Lane, Glen Cove, NY 11542. To make a donation to the Polcer family, send it to St. Frances de Chantel Church Outreach, 1309 Wantagh Ave., Wantagh, NY 11793. Write "Greg" on the check's memo line.