Strangers and a community are stepping up to the plate to help a local family in need. Phone calls and emails poured into our newsroom minutes after WSBT aired a story about a St. Joseph County family dealing with the emotional and financial toll tainted steroid injections have taken on their family.
Retired St. Joseph County Police officer Jack "Pappy" Pavlekovich is still in and out of the hospital because of two tainted injections he says he received from OSMC in Elkhart in September 2012 to help with back pain. He estimates his medical bills are over $1 million, filed for bankruptcy and is hoping for settlement money from the company that made those shots.
Pavlekovich and his wife say they're struggling to put food on the table and at one point had their gas and electricity shut off because they couldn't pay the bills on time. Jack's wife, Tammy, said new school supplies and clothes simply aren't in the family budget.
Read the original story here.
But Friday afternoon that was no longer a problem, thanks to the generosity of strangers.
"I'm gonna cry. This is really all overwhelming," Tammy said.
It started when Bill Liskow saw our story Thursday evening about the impact the tainted injections had on the Pavlekovich family. He called WSBT and said he wanted to help.
"Me and my other half, we've been through the same situation," he said. "We're both working now so it's time to just pass it on."
Friday afternoon in the parking lot at Wal-Mart in Mishawaka, Liskow and his two kids did. They gave 15-year-old Ashlee and 14-year-old Jamie Pavlekovich $300 to buy new clothes for school.
"Words can't describe how it feels," Jamie said.
Then, Liskow took them inside the store and spent another $139 to buy the girls' school supplies.
"Especially Jamie," he said. "I want her to stop worrying about things and just be a kid."
The kindness didn't stop there. South Bend attorney Mark Boveri also saw our story and wanted to help.
He gave the family a $600 check to help the girls buy new clothes.
"Something about their plight hit home with me, I guess," Boveri said. "I have a daughter a big older than theirs and I remember how excited she gets when it's time to buy school supplies and school clothes. So I didn't want these daughters to miss that."
Thanks to Boveri and Liskow, they won't.
WSBT learned there's even more help on the way for the family. The girls attend New Prairie High School. When teachers from that school corporation saw our story, they had no idea the Pavlekovich family needed so much help.
The teachers are currently organizing a fundraiser to pay for the girls' iPad insurance, book fees and school lunches.
Anyone in the community can also give to the Pavlekovich Family Donation fund at Policemen's Federal Credit Union in South Bend.
"I guarantee that once we have the ability to get back on our feet, we will definitely help someone else out in need," Tammy said.
"Thank you so much, everybody," added Jamie. "And just keep on praying for my dad. Thank you guys. I love you."