Hundreds of people online are coming together to help a father of five in Moose Jaw who’s just lost his wife.
Ami Perez moved to Saskatchewan from the Philippines in February 2014. His wife and their four children joined him six months later. Less than a year after that, Jocelyn, his wife, was diagnosed with late-stage cancer. By this time she was also pregnant with their fifth child.
“She’s a good person, she’s a helping kind of person … Jocelyn touched (people’s) heart, especially those nurses who were with her those times when she was in the hospital,” said Ami.
Through her sickness Ami would take time off work and commute from Moose Jaw to Regina, where she was in hospital.
On Oct. 9, Nathanial King Perez was born – but he was early and has to stay in the NICU.
A little over a week later, on Oct. 20, Jocelyn died.
In a quiet, slow voice, Ami said it’s been hard for him.
“The dreams that we are planning to have for our family is now going to be on my shoulder, and doing it alone.”
They two were married for 14 years, and he said they would talk all the time, even when they were apart.
“Every time we are talking and laughing (with) each other, and this is like both of our lives are built to each other.”
He described her as a strong, simple woman who loved her kids and was loyal to her husband. He said she was a good person, that even when they didn’t have enough food for themselves, she would try to share with others.
A GoFundMe campaign has been started for Ami and his family to help with the financial burden of the illness, his time away from work, and the trips to and from Regina.
As of Sunday morning, more than $25,000 had been raised in just a few days.
In the description of the campaign by Jen Kreklewich, she wrote, “Jocelyn has touched the lives of so many in her short time that we have known her and everyone who she knew. She could light up a room and was one of the strongest women I have ever met. Her strength is courageous.”
Ami was very grateful for the support from people he knows, and especially strangers. He said the money will help a lot with his wife’s burial, and any money left over will go to his kids, perhaps for school.
Ami is still commuting to Regina to visit his son in the hospital, but he says those trips can be difficult.
“Every time I go to the hospital I still remember the days when my wife is still there.”
Even in his loss, Ami had some advice.
“Just give time to your family, if you have time … give joy to your family while you’re still alive.”