Source: Sherman Publications

When you least expect it
Woman helps ailing family member, enlists the community

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

May 04, 2011

By Gabriel Ouzounian

Review Staff Writer

Sudden life threatening conditions can be life altering not only for the victims, but their families as well.

However, one area resident decided to do something about it.

When Patty Chevrier, of Orion, discovered her brother-in-law, Paul Wirries, also of Orion, had suffered a brain tumor, followed by a number of surgery-related problems, she made the decision to raise money for the family in her own way - by asking for donations and hosting a raffle.

“I went to some local businesses and asked if they would be interested in donating gift certificates for the raffle, and the results were great,” said Chevrier. “11 different businesses contributed.

“Chardonnay of Oxford, Jet’s Pizza in Oxford and Orion, Big Boy, Italia Gardens, Reveres, The Golden Nugget, Collier Lanes, Elements, AT&T, and True Value Hardware all gave certificates worth between $15 and $60.”

Wirries, 53, was described by his daughter, Amber Kowalski, as the epitome of health. In November of 2010, he began experiencing headache, eventually discovering the existence of a brain tumor. Undergoing surgery in late December at St. Joes in Bloomfield, he was on his way back to good health when he began feeling ill again, and from their the situation deteriorated.

A blood clot was found near Wirries brain stem -- a problem that cause Wirries’s health to fail rapidly. After attempting to remove the clot, Wirries was sedated while he recovered a second time, but developed a breathing problem, prompting doctors to perform a tracheotomy. After this surgery, he remained in the hospital for an extended period in February, contracting many diseases including a staph infection, pneumonia, and pseudomonas.

The problems continued to mount after medication prescribed to treat the pseudomonas caused his health to deteriorate again, putting him in his current state - unable to stand without rapid blood pressure loss and unable to eat, drink or swallow without assistance.

The situation has left his wife, Colleen, unable to work as he requires supervision. He cannot even be transported due to the blood pressure problem, and is confined to his home. With the expenses seemingly endless, this is when Chevrier decided to help out with the raffle.

Kowalski said she worried about the hospital’s diligence in treating her father, especially after hearing one alleged mistreatment.

“After the blood clot was found, they had a tube coming from his head to help drain fluids and prevent damage to his brain, because typically the brain swells after undergoing surgery,” said Kowalski. “I had heard from some of the staff that they had found the tube knocked out one day.

“This was something that was surgically installed, so it would have taken more than a bump to knock it free.”

Readers interested in donating to Chevrier’s donation drive can call her for more information at (248) 693-4851 or visit