By Dawn Krebs
PORT ST. LUCIE -- When a friend or loved one gets sick, people step up to help in different ways.
And when Port St. Lucie resident Tom Zarnawski III became ill and was diagnosed with goblet cell cancer, his friend, Ian Treacy, wanted to do he what he could.
The cancer is rare and treatment for it can be expensive. The cancer affects tissue in Mr. Zarnawski's intestine and colon, and needs to be removed.
But Mr. Zarnawski is unemployed and cannot work because of his condition. He was able, however, to get federal health insurance to cover the cost of the surgery. As a result, the out-of pocket cost for the surgery to Mr. Zarnawski is expected to cost $10,000.
That's when friends Mr. Treacy and his wife, Julie, turned to the kindness of strangers for help, setting up the website Give Forward.
"When he told us about his health, I started searching for an online fundraiser," Ms. Treacy said. "I found that one, and it was easy to set up a page."
With the deadline for the fundraiser looming on March 1, the website has managed to collect $8,400 in donations toward the $10,000 goal.
Mr. Treacy donated $300 of his own money for the surgery.
"God didn't bring you this far to let you down," Mr. Treacy wrote to Mr. Zarnawski on the web page.
"Because of these donations, I now have my surgery scheduled for Jan. 21," said Mr. Zarnawski. "Without the help of all these people, this wouldn't have been possible. I'm grateful to all of them."
The website Give Forward was first created in 2008, and since then has helped raise more than $30 million for thousands of people. While the main focus of the website is medical needs, there are also fundraising requests for families who are the victims of natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes or fires.
According to Ashley Groves, a representative of Give Forward, the company will accept donations in any amount.
To help contribute, go to the website at www.giveforward.com/tomzarnawskissurgery.