Bellport’s Grace Beemer can't hold back the tears when she talks about the disease that took her teenage love. But she can take solace in the community that rallied has around her.
Grace’s husband of 27 years, Scott, was diagnosed with lung cancer last March and died Dec. 26 at the age of 45. The disease moved quickly after Scott Beemer discovered a lump on his lower right side.
“We thought he had a hernia,” Grace said.
Even after his diagnosis he carried 50-pound bags of cement over his shoulder at his business, Stone Works. But slowly he was forced to let his two employees do more of the physical labor, including cutting stones and bricks to build walkways, fireplaces and inground pools.
“Fast moving” was how Maria Connolly, Grace Beemer’s twin sister and a nurse, described the cancer. “By the time it took to fix it, it was growing back.”
Grace Beemer worries about supporting the couple’s teenage daughter and college-student son; their elder son is 26. Grace works part-time at UPS and is looking to work full-time.
But support came in droves soon after Scott’s death. A committee called Beemer Friends was formed, and a casino night last month raised $33,000 for the family.
“The whole objective of this [fundraiser] was to get them through the next few months,” said LaNel Kavander, a 20-year friend of the family who organized the event.
Grace Beemer said she is grateful for what her hometown has done for her family.
“I am not good at words, but my heart is huge with gratitude,” Beemer said. “It is humbling how the community came together.”
Another fundraiser for Scott Beemer will be held June 12 at the Rock Hill Golf & Country Club, 105 Clancy Rd., Manorville. For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.