Hundreds of people are coming together online to help a Saskatchewan father of five who just lost his wife.
Ami Perez moved to Moose Jaw from the Philippines in February 2014. His wife Jocelyn and their four children joined him six months later. Less than a year later, Jocelyn was diagnosed with late-stage cancer while she was pregnant with the couple’s fifth child.
“She’s a good person, she’s a helping kind of person … Jocelyn touched (people’s) hearts, especially those nurses who were with her those times when she was in the hospital,” Perez said.
Throughout his wife’s sickness, Perez took 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. Eleven days later, Jocelyn passed away.
In a quiet, slow voice, Perez said it’s been hard for him.
“The dreams that we are planning to have for our family are now going to be on my shoulder, and doing it alone,” he said.
The 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 Perez and his children, 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. “
Perez 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.
Perez 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, Perez had some advice.
“Just give time to your family, if you have time … give joy to your family while you’re still alive.”