It’s an argument you’ve probably heard before. “Pro-lifers only care about babies before they’re born. Then they’re left to fend for themselves.”
This is, of course, entirely nonsense. The pro-life movement is filled with resources and people that are a great comfort and aid to women with crisis pregnancies, both before and after birth.
And the members of the pro-life movement are the most likely to come to the aid of the helpless even after they’re born. We all remember the battle to save Terri Schiavo.
I’ve recently been made aware of another opportunity to help, and I want to share it with you.
Joe Pascale is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville and currently works as a video editor at EWTN. He and his wife Leigh have two little boys, Eli and Ethan. But just after Christmas, tragedy struck their family:
On December 29th, Joe was found unresponsive by his wife and was immediately taken to the Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama where he was treated for encephalitis and spent 3 weeks in the ICU/SICU. After a myriad of blood tests, EEGs, CT scans, MRIs, and a brain biopsy, the etiology of Joe’s illness is still unclear. It is believed to be ADEM, a rare form of encephalitis which has a good prognosis but recovery can be very long. Thanks to the coordinated efforts of an excellent team of doctors and the faithful prayers of friends and family, Joe has improved enough to be transferred to a regular medical floor in the same hospital, where he remains semi-comatose, with a tracheotomy tube, G-Tube and PICC line. He is receiving physical therapy but has experienced extensive muscle atrophy, weight loss and foot drop. He is slowly showing signs that he may be closer to regaining consciousness, but is still unable to actively participate in any therapy and therefore is not a candidate for a rehab facility or skilled nursing home.
He will be discharged to home where insurance will cover only limited care. The responsibility of Joe’s extensive care needs will fall mainly on his wife, Leigh, whose unwavering love and devotion to Joe has been inspirational. We know she is up to the great challenge of caring for Joe at home, but it will require a tremendous amount of emotional, physical and financial support to accomplish all of the therapies, treatments, and care that Joe requires, as he remains completely helpless. Leigh and other family members will be trained to perform the necessary treatments Joe needs prior to his discharge from the hospital. Leigh will continue to have the support of our parents and her family who have been there with her from the beginning, but with 2 young children at home and the need to return to work, she will need more help. The cost of Joe’s home care will be extensive.
I’ve known the Pascales for many years. Joe and I did missionary work together in the late 1990s, and Joe’s brother John (who has set up a website in support of his brother) went to Steubenville with me. Though I haven’t seen Joe since college, I remember him as an incredibly positive, enthusiastic guy who was on fire for his Catholic faith. I can only imagine how difficult this must be for his family, and how stressful the financial burden has become.
John tells me that Joe’s 24-hour nursing care is going to cost roughly $10,000 per month in out-of-pocket expenses. As if that burden weren’t difficult enough, Joe is still not responsive. Doctors are hopeful, but nobody knows for sure if he will come out of his semi-comatose state. Despite these trials, the family’s hope and optimism are inspiring.
Please pray for Joe and share his story among your family and friends and ask them to do the same. If you feel called to give, the Pascales say no donation is too small. Everything helps. (Donations can be made on the website linked above.)
We have so many chances to prove that we are a pro-life people, from conception until death. I can’t think of a more worthy cause or a more fitting opportunity.