A Lithuanian couple fell on hard times during a trip to the U.S. to visit friends, forcing them to ask for help from strangers.
Algirdas Peckys and his wife, Erika Masiliuniene, are having to rely on American generosity to raise $40,000 for a stem-cell transplant for Peckys, who suffers from a type of cancer that affects white blood cells.
"My husband became ill several months after we came here two years ago. He is too sick to travel back to Lithuanian,'' Masiliuniene said.
She said they have raised $10,000 from individuals and church groups.
The fund-raising effort started when a local nurse from Lithuania, Rita Gecas-Thoney, became concerned about the couple's plight. Gecas-Thoney works at the Barrett Cancer Center where Algirdas is being treated.
"We have a small group here, called the Greater Cincinnati Lithuanian Community. We try to stick together and help each other,'' Gecas-Thoney said.
Dr. Carl Siegrist, who is treating Peckys, said Peckys has been diagnosed with stage IV non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and needs a bone marrow transplant to try to get the cancer into remission.
"The surgery will be done at Ohio State University. Peckys doesn't need a donor. His own blood cells can be used,'' Dr. Siegrist said.
To help, call (513) 469-6176 or (859) 781-6548 or send contributions to: PNC Bank, account number 4007293545.
Perfect attendance honored
You have heard the postal carriers' motto: "Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail..."
Diane Hurse, a lead clerk in the central adjustment department at Fifth Third Bank, has lived up to that slogan, even though she doesn't work for the postal service.
For 17 years, she has maintained perfect attendance, getting to work to do troubleshooting on collections claims and training employees in her group.
Hurse was honored Wednesday along with more 550 other employees at the bank's perfect attendance breakfast.
"It is great to work for a company that recognizes my 17 years of hard work,'' said Hurse of Northside. "The fact that I am doing something I love makes it easy to do every day.''
In addition to honoring employees at the breakfast, the bank paid out more than $141,000 in bonuses.
Student essay contest
African-American high school seniors in Greater Cincinnati can compete for scholarships by writing and delivering a speech on the topic "All I Can Ever Do In Life Is The Best I Can With What I Have.''
Competition takes place March 6 in the Gregory Center, 601 East Pete Rose Way, at the 17th Annual Otis W. Pickard Oratorical Scholarship luncheon, sponsored by the Urban League Guild of Greater Cincinnati.
Church plans Bible game
Can Bible study be exciting?
Pastor Walter A. Dobbins Sr. at the First Baptist Church of Mount Auburn hopes to make it so for families in the community.
Next Sunday, the church, 146 Dorchester Ave., will host "Fellowship in the Word" at 4 p.m., and Dobbins plans for the event to be like a family game show.
"It's going to be different. We try to go outside the box and make things exciting," he said.
The church hosted the Family Feud-like game last year with much success.
"We're trying to get people who come through the holidays and get them to continue to come. This is for the community," he said.
The church continues outreach throughout the year, and has had services with other Baptist churches in the area, including New Galatians Missionary Baptist in Lincoln Heights, Union Valley Baptist in Lawrenceburg, Ind., and New Emanuel Baptist and Zion Hill Baptist in Walnut Hills.
Regular services at the church are at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. with Sunday school at 9:45 a.m. For more information about the Fellowship in the Word, call 421-6185.
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