BSM lends a helping hand to former teacher

Rose Conry

As his wife Sara faces cancer, former Benilde-St. Margaret’s theology teacher, Mr. Paul Freid learns from his wife’s experiences as well as his own that this disease consumes energy, drains financial resources and destroys health, but still fails to conquer their strong spirits.

While Mr. Freid and his wife wait to see how the disease responds to chemotherapy treatment, they continue on with their life with optimistic outlooks and grateful hearts. “We remain very positive about the whole situation knowing that we are receiving wonderful medical care, that [Sara] will be cured, and that our situation could be much worse,” said Mr. Fried.

In late February, Sara was diagnosed with malignant gestational trophoblastic disorder (GTD). Although this disease is most likely not cancerous, its effects are the same as cancer. “I don’t know what the difference between the two would be,” said Mr. Freid.

Now, Sara is undergoing a relatively mild chemotherapy treatment. “Sara has a small dose of methotrexate chemotherapy shot once a week. She has had these shots for nine weeks and we hope they will be over in about two months,” said Mr. Freid.

Due to only receiving a small dosage, the side effects of Sara’s chemotherapy remain minor. “She does have some mouth sores, a queasy stomach, and gets tired a little more easily,” said Mr. Fried. If this course of treatment is not effective, a more intense form of chemotherapy would be necessary.

As Mr. Freid and his wife wait to determine the next step necessary in Sara’s fight against cancer, friends and strangers alike show their support in multiple ways. “The support people have been giving us is overwhelming. People have been praying for us and contacting us throughout this whole time,” said Mr. Freid.

Several individuals are helping the Frieds financially by paying for the costs of treatment; even the Benilde St. Margaret’s community has contributed to their cause. Faculty member Ms. Megan Kern organized a raffle for a Vera Bradley purse to raise money to cover some of the costs of Sara’s treatment.

Mr. Freid still pursues his interests and his career the best he can in the face of this obstacle. Currently, Mr. Fried and his wife work at a software company called JMC. “This company designs and sells software to schools for grading, attendance, and lunch,” said Mr. Freid.

Along with creating a tighter budget for themselves, the Freids have increased the amount of work they are doing at JMC to help finance the chemotherapy treatments. Even with longer hours, a tighter budget, and financial support from family and friends, cancer still proves to a financial strain. “We plan on being in debt to the hospital for about a year, if all goes well,” said Mr. Freid.

Although a stressful time for Mr. Freid and Sara, they try as best they can to continue doing things they enjoy, but sometimes they find this difficult. At this time, they are building a straw bale home that they hope to complete before winter. “We have tried to keep up work on the house, but it has taken a back seat to Sara’s health,” said Mr. Freid.

Mr. Fried and his wife want to explore organic farming, but they have not succeeded in getting this started. Although cancer has added some challenges to the Freids, they considered themselves blessed.