Debbie’s Story!

12 Aug

On Aug. 22nd, 2011, a seemingly minor stomach ache shattered our world when it was discovered that Debbie had advanced, metastatic adenocarcinoma involving 5 organs in her abdomen.  We were all bewildered as to how a vibrant, healthy 55 year old woman could be harboring such a  ”timebomb” inside of her.  A frantic, desperate search began to find the best doctors and treatment options, which now include traditional, alternative, and nutritional therapies. The overwhelming outpouring of support among family and friends, combined with Debbie’s tenacious determination, has energized a community of supporters in an effort to help our family fight this battle. The prayers and financial support that has been provided is immeasurable, and the Chakler/Newnam family embrace each and every one of  you as part of our now “extended” family. Just as Debbie has touched the lives of so many people with her kindness, compassion, patience, and strength, we now ask for all your continued prayers and support in helping to save her life! May god bless all of you and your families!

As you may know, we have started a non-profit organization named “A Miracle for Debbie”.  This organization will be an ongoing corporation whose mission will be to help those people in need in fighting this deadly disease, cancer. On February 4th, 2012, we held our first annual gala event at the beautiful “Tendenza at the Piazza”, in the Northern Liberties section of downtown Philadelphia. This event was an overwhelming success with over 200 attendees and more than 155 corporate and individual sponsors and a great time was had by all.

Debbie was also recently profiled in the “Brotherly Love” segment on our local CBS affiliate.  (

Her positive attitude, .. unwavering optimism, and desire to give back in the face of her own adversity has made her an inspiration to more than 1,500 Facebook followers. We invite you to join our prayer page and see for yourself how the “Praying for Debbie’s Miracle”  has become a phenomenon and a haven for so many people who feel compelled to visit and post daily since her diagnosis. 

Although Debbie lost her battle on May 20th, 2013, her legacy of helping other less fortunate will continue to live on through this organization for years to come. This is what Debbie wanted, and our family is committed to continuing to help others who are suffering with cancer.

Donations can be made via our website, or by a check made payable to “A Miracle For Debbie”, 67 Buck Road, Suite B-60, Huntingdon Valley, PA  19006.


6 Responses to “Debbie’s Story!”

  1. Linda Zaidman October 3, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    I wish you all the strenght to win this battle and I know Donna if you truly want something in life you WILL get it. Your courage and devotion and love for people is amazing so you deserve a break.

    Fam Zaidman

  2. Marcee Cohen January 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    The strength and love of this beautiful family has touched the lives of so many. This is a beautiful thing your doing for so many who are suffering. I am honored to be a part of the love I feel for all of you.

    Marcee Cohen

  3. Bruce Platt February 3, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    My name is Bruce Platt. I am the Advocacy Coordinator for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network-Philadelphia Affilliate. I saw you article in the NE Times.I was wondering if you need any informational literature or if there is anything our group can help you with. You can reach me at
    Good Luck.
    Bruce Platt

  4. Felicia R. February 29, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    I saw your story on the local news and it warms my heart to see you reaching out to others with pancreatic cancer. Five years ago I was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer and my insurance coverage was a big problem. Being a single mother of a college freshmen I struggled with every treatment & bill. I went through all my savings & retirement. As you know there is little financial help out there to meet basic living expences. I did receive a grant from LBBC in memory of Cis B. Golder, that grant ment more to me then I could every explain. Thank you for thinking of others. God bless you and your family.

  5. Pam T. August 10, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    I just wanted to say you are amazing! I met Ronnie at Schlesinger last week and hearing your story was mind blowing. It was a pleasure to hear how wonderful a husband could talk about his wife and family. Hang in there and keep fighting!

  6. Joyce A Williams April 22, 2015 at 11:34 pm #

    I just learned of ” A Miracle for Debby” only a few weeks ago. It seems my step- daughter – in – law, Tracey Williams, has been a longtime friends with Debbie’s daughter, Kristin. And by chance Tracey mentioned to Kristin that I and my husband were waiting to be operated on, so Tracey gave our names to Kristin to pray for us. I was unaware of this, later after my husband’s operation I was told that a card was put in his travel bag, that he took to the Hospital, which I never saw upon cleaning it out. Tracey emailed me a week or so later asking if I had received the card. I told her no, but I would look again. And there it was in one of the zipper compartments. I took it out and read this pretty card addressed to me by someone I have never known. Here it was from Kristin, Debbie’s daughter whom Tracey had given full details of my illness ( 4 th stage renal carcinoma – kidney Cancer) and since their mother who since passed away they wanted to continue her legacy by helping others who are fighting cancer. Well, to my surprise I was one of their beneficiaries and they gave me a surprisingly generous amount to help with some of our expenses. I also later found out that Debbie Chakler was a Parishioner in my Church, how us that for a God- Incident?
    I can’t thank you Kristin for your beautiful card and the money, I still can’t get over your generousity and I have taken a vow to keep your mother’s soul and her family in my daily prayers. May God continue to Bless your family and your work in continuing what your mother wanted. Just from all I read and what you have done and still do, your parents , especially yoir mom certainly brought you up with a Love for God and others.
    – sincerely …Thank You again,
    Joyce A. Williams

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