PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A local man’s heartbreaking love story has revealed the generosity of others, who stepped up to help him give his late wife a proper burial.
Thirteen years ago, Deb Bressanelli was diagnosed with two brain tumors. Doctors operated and gave her a year to live.
So, her husband, Eugene, set up a hospice of sorts in their apartment to take care of her.
“When she was here, she got 24-hour, round-the-clock, one-on-one, you know, one-on-one care,” he says. “I didn’t mind doing it, ‘cause I loved her.”
Deb passed away a few weeks ago in her lift chair wearing her Steelers’ blanket.
“She’d sit there and she’d watch her Steelers,” said Eugene.
The 13-year battle to keep Deb alive ruined the couple financially. When she died, Eugene didn’t have a nickel to pay for what he calls a “proper funeral.”
“I felt, I didn’t feel like a man,” he said. “I should have been able to provide for her.”
But an email changed all of that. Sent to KDKA from Eugene, he says, “Half my heart and soul got taken away when my wife passed, and with these difficulties I am losing my will to live.
KDKA’s Marty Griffin read the emotional email on KDKA Radio, placed it on Facebook, and within an hour, there was another email. A listener went to the funeral home to pay the entire bill.
The folks at Sollon Funeral Home were blown away. One woman paid for the entire funeral, and other anonymous donors paid for the gravestone and other necessities.
“It’s really neat. Because of the kindness of all of these people, Eugene was a stranger to them and because of all their generosity, he was able to honor the life of his wife in a meaningful way,” said Phillip Sollon, the funeral home’s director.
For Eugene, there’s finally peace knowing the love of his life can now rest in peace.
Eugene: “I owe my life to her, by just being by my side.”
Griffin: “This is your gift?”
Eugene: “I don’t know if it’s a gift or not, Marty. It is, it actually is a gift. I filled a need for her. To know that she’s taken care of properly, to me, that starts to heal my heart a little bit more.”
All of the donations went directly to the funeral home, paying for the services and the burial. All told, nearly $5,000, all of it from strangers and all of them want to remain anonymous.
If you’d like Marty to help you solve your problem, email him at GetMarty@kdka.com.
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