Stephen Mayer Jr., of Alburtis, died on Saturday at the age of 56.
His funeral is planned for Friday and his youngest daughter, Katie, is doing everything in her power to ensure that her dad gets the special kind of send off that he deserves.
As part of that effort, about a week ago Katie started an online fundraising campaign, through the crowdfunding site gofundme, to help pay for what she calls “the perfect funeral for dad.”
Money is tight right now, says Katie, who lives with her mom, Jessie. Katie was recently promoted to assistant baking manager at the Weis in Macungie, but Jessie isn’t working.
“She quit her job at Rodale in Emmaus to take care of my dad,” Katie explains. “When he couldn’t be left alone any more she refused to put him in a nursing home.”
Katie’s dad spent the last seven years of his life battling frontotemporal lobe dementia – a disease Katie says is a little-known form of dementia that afflicts young people.
He spent the last days of his life in hospice, Katie says, and it was about the time that her father entered hospice care that Katie began her campaign on gofundme.
“My dad deserves the perfect funeral, as perfect as funerals can get,” writes Katie in her gofundme solicitation. “I believe a man who helped so many lives, deserves help for his. Please help my family give my dad the funeral he deserves.”
Katie gushes with obvious pride when she describes the many ways that her dad helped others – he was a volunteer firefighter in West Catasauqua and Emmaus, an EMT for Cetronia Ambulance Corp., a volunteer security guard at Musikfest, an Air Force veteran.
To date, the gofundme campaign has raised a $1,135 of its $5,000 goal.
Katie says she has already used a little money from gofundme to add some special touches to her dad’s funeral, including a 21-gun salute. “He deserves to have that,” Katie says, “but even that requires a $135 donation fee. The little things are really going to add up.”
Katie says that the more money she raises through gofundme before her dad’s “celebration of life” on Friday, the “more special” she can make it.
“He loved helping people. He was always so willing to do for others. He did so much in life, he deserves to have a good funeral,” she says.
These is just a few of the many local fundraising campaigns hosted on GoFundMe, a Patch partner.