NewsLocal NewsLake County


Willowick couple staying strong through job loss, cancer diagnosis, housing issues during pandemic

Willowick Couple
Posted at 9:17 AM, Dec 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-27 09:17:46-05

WILLOWICK, Ohio — The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on a lot of people in 2020, forcing many to ask for help they otherwise wouldn’t have needed.

For a couple in Willowick, they’ve been dealt blow after blow and each road they go down gets bumpier.

Christopher Strong and his partner Jeremy live in Willowick. Chris works at Arby’s as an assistant manager now, but prior to the pandemic Chris had just finished up a master’s degree and landed a full-time job.

But when the pandemic hit, Chris lost his job and now has turned to Arby’s, as well as other part-time gigs, to help make ends meet.

Complicating matters, Chris’s partner Jeremy was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome — or MDS —a rare form of leukemia that can cause a shortage of white blood cells. Jeremy underwent lung surgery right when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold back in March.

If mounting medical bills and losing job during a pandemic weren’t enough, the couple recently was made aware the place they’ve called home for the last three years would no longer be available to rent.

The landlord they had been renting from passed away unexpectedly and now Chris and Jeremy were faced with two options: buy the house or face moving during a pandemic.

That’s when Arby’s stepped in, setting up a GoFundMeand helping settle their living situation. Chris would like to buy their house so that Jeremy can stay in a comfortable and familiar place while he continues his battle with MDS.

“We’ve done a lot of work to the house just to kind of make it our own,” Chris said. ”The outlook that we’ve kind of been led to has not been great. I would like to be able to stay here after being here for three years, this would help him be comfortable and allow him to fight on."