Lynbrook resident Patti Beitler has been a fighter her whole life, but when she encountered financial hardships and nearly lost her home, her fellow village residents and others from across the country answered the call.
“Patti is a fighter,” her friend, Maureen Donnelly said. “She’s a representative and example of people out there without a voice, and I think Patti has invaluable information to contribute to that group.”
Beitler, 62, lives on Oakland Avenue and has been physically challenged for most of her life. She lives alone, has no family and has dealt with severe scoliosis since she was 12, which has caused her to undergo multiple surgeries.
When she turned 40, she underwent a complete spinal reconstruction and had to stay in the hospital for four months. Beitler then developed an infection and had to undergo another major surgery. When turned 50, she was no longer able to walk and could not go to work anymore. In addition to scoliosis, she was also diagnosed with arachnoiditis, a pain disorder that is caused by the inflammation of a membrane that surrounds and protects the nerves of the spinal chord, and she must use a cane to navigate around her home.
Because she was unable to work and her parents are no longer alive, Beitler struggled to pay her overwhelming property taxes over the past six years. As a result, Nassau County put tens of thousands of dollars worth of liens on Beitler’s home, and she feared it might fall into foreclosure. She hired an attorney who obtained grace periods to keep her home from being foreclosed on, however the motions added exorbitant fees and left her further in a financial hole.
With Beitler falling deeper into debt, Donnelly created a GoFundMe page to help support her in September 2018. Soon after, the grassroots effort started paying dividends as people from Lynbrook, across Nassau and from different states began donating to help her cause, while others began sending her checks in the mail. Two lien-holders were paid entirely and, as of last December, Beitler’s home was no longer in foreclosure. An anonymous donation from Texas also helped her pay $30,000 in back taxes to a holding company in order to keep her house.
Beitler said she was grateful for the support, but lamented having to seek help. “It’s tough,” she said. “I like to be productive. I like to do things and I like to be involved in things. I don’t like to ask for help. It’s tough for me.”
With the financial pressure off her, Beitler realized that with little mobility and another property tax hit around the corner, it was time to downsize her home. She found a couple that was willing to purchase it, and said she hoped to complete the sale soon and move into an apartment in Baldwin. In order to do so, Beitler needs to come up with $54,000.
Donnelly and Hilary Becker, who runs a real estate firm and is a village trustee, have spearheaded the effort to raise awareness about the GoFundMe campaign for Beitler so that she can move. The Lynbrook Community Chest and local residents have also helped.
“It’s always amazing to me to see how people come together to help another person, especially in Lynbrook,” Becker said. “Lynbrook residents are known for having really big hearts.”
Beitler praised Donnelly and Becker for their support, and added that Donnelly went “above and beyond” her call of friendship. She added that it’s been a tough road, but she would continue to battle.
“I fought when I was in the hospital and I’m still fighting now,” she said. “Back then, I was in the fight of my life and I’m in the fight of my life now.”
To learn about or contribute to Beitler’s GoFundMe page, click here.