Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

Daughter seeking help for couple handed ‘crappy deal’

Published on

Cathy Dobson

Mandi Clark marvels at her parents’ strength.

Rick and Sue Neely have spent years coping as Rick battles diabetes, two leg amputations, a kidney transplant and failing eyesight.

He was forced to leave his job as a special education teacher, then an accountant, about 25 years ago due to health complications.

“My parents have been handed a crappy deal their whole lives but they get through everything,” says Clark, the Neelys’ only child.

“They were always very active in the Sarnia community despite it all,” she said. Both Sue and Rick coached baseball and supported the Royal Canadian Navy.

“They would rather help people than have people help them.”

But the Neelys are now financially stressed.  Last week, while recovering from an amputation below the knee of his second leg, Rick learned the amputation has to be taken higher above the knee because of infection.

“The doctors told mom and dad he’s never going to walk again, even with prosthetics,” Clark said.  “They don’t know what’s coming next.”

So the family agreed when Sue’s coworkers at Abram Refrigeration suggested a GoFundMe campaign.  Sue Neely has worked full-time at Abram’s for many years but has taken part-time hours recently to accommodate her husband’s many doctor appointments and trips to London hospital.

“Mom’s work has been extremely supportive,” said Clark.  “They initiated the GoFundMe idea and I am helping to manage it. We are trying to get the word out to as many as possible.”

A few weeks after the $75,000 campaign started the GoFundMe page “Supporting Rick Neely’s Recovery and Rehabilitation” had raised $7,325.

The goal is to raise enough money for a wheelchair accessible van, accessible equipment for the Neelys’ apartment and help with medications.

Rick Neely, 65, grew up in Sarnia and is the youngest of eight children. Sue grew up in Point Edward and they met at Rose Gardens roller rink when they were ages 12 and 15.

They’ve been together ever since, said Clark.

In 1989, when Clark was in Grade 8, Rick was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. In 2008, his kidneys started to fail and he discovered he had a pre-existing kidney disease.  Four years later he received a transplant.

In 2015, the amputation of his right leg was necessary below the knee.

This spring, he was placed back on dialysis and is waiting for another kidney transplant. But that won’t be possible until he recovers from the amputation of his second leg, Clark said.

Neely stubbed his toe but didn’t feel it due to neuropathy.

The toe didn’t heal and an infection travelled up his leg.

By mid-October, it was clear the amputation wasn’t high enough and another surgery was scheduled.

“Mom has benefits but a lot of equipment is not covered,” said Clark.

“My dad is such a character. He’s always joking and that helps them get through it.  He’s like a big, sensitive, funny kid who would literally do anything for anybody.

“I’m very lucky to have them as my parents,” she said.  “It’s stressful to ask, but I’m hoping that the GoFundMe page can take some of their stress away.”

If you’d like to contribute, the link is:



More like this