Friday, March 26, 2021

Gofundme benefits beloved Manchester School teacher, husband

Beloved Manchester School fourth-grade
teacher Carol Priebe will accompany her
husband, Paul Priebe, as he receives a lung
transplant at the Cleveland Clinic in 
Cleveland, Ohio. Friends and supporters
of the couple raised more than $5,000
for their expenses through a gofundme
By Daniel Gray

Have you ever had a teacher that made a huge positive impact on you or a loved one? Teachers are an important role in a child's developmental stages in life, not only for the fact that they teach our kids the knowledge they need, but because they can teach beyond that.


Teachers can help develop good moral stand points as well and lessons that stick with us for our entire lives. We need teachers and, sometimes, they need us as well.

Carol Priebe has taught fourth grade at Manchester School in Windham since 2001, and is one of many amazing teachers in the RSU 14 District. She treats her students as if they were her own children and puts her best effort forward when it comes to lessons.

Despite this, Carol has been facing some family medical issues since late 2018. Her husband of eight years, Paul Priebe, has been diagnosed with not one, but three different lung diseases, scleroderma, sarcoidosis, and Raynaud’s disease, a rare trio to be happening all at once.

Carol talks further about the rarity of the diseases as well as what she and her husband went through briefly.

"The doctors said there are only 22 people on Earth that have these same onset diseases at the exact same time,” Priebe said. “You'll treat one symptom for one disease, then the next will pop up from another. In October of 2018, it was almost as if his body said, 'I'm done'."

The last couple of years have not been treating them well either. Carol still teaches in person and online all through 2020 and so far through 2021 but was so nervous during a viral pandemic affecting the lungs. The two have gotten the wonderful news that Paul will be receiving a lung transplant later this month but that would require them going all the way to The Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio for it.

"The parents and the students have been so considerate during these times and completely understand what we've been going through. They have been wonderful during this process of frequent phone calls and some days when I suddenly have to drop a hat to go to a doctor’s appointment for Paul."

One parent in particular said that she was especially understanding of their situation.

When Melissa Carver-Emmons received an email that Carol Priebe would be leaving for her husband's lung transplant, she was full of emotions and couldn't stop thinking of all the troubles they had been through.

"It's obvious that she loves her husband, job, and students and I just felt drawn to help in some small way." Emmons explained, "I put myself in her shoes and knew I would do the same without hesitation but couldn't imagine the emotion around- not only his upcoming high-risk transplant, leaving all the things that you love and that are familiar for the upcoming unknown."

What better way to help than through monetary support? Emmons got to work, setting up a donation pool with a small goal of $5,000. The money would go toward Carol and Paul for anything they needed, whether it be gas, treatments, or just a comfort meal. Anything they could need during this new journey of theirs. She shared the gofundme online and within three days, it had reached its goal.

The donations had eventually brought their way around and, soon enough, the Priebes were notified of what was going on. Carol Priebe said she was utterly surprised upon hearing about the donations.

"A close friend of mine called me to tell me about all these donations. I was so shocked that I just started crying,” she said. “It was so incredible, and I couldn't thank everyone enough for helping me and Paul."

One of 80 donators, Stephanie Lombard, notes just how much Carol means to her family and the community, but along with how important it is to stick with family in the tougher times.

"Right away, you could tell how dedicated she is to her students. She always took the time to teach her students in a way that made learning fun and enjoyable. When I heard the news about her husband, I knew right away I needed to help in any way I could. She is truly a loss to the school department and her students while she takes some much needed time away to be with her husband."

On the behalf of Carol and Paul Priebe, they said they would like to take a moment to just appreciate and send their love out to the people who sent them kind wishes, donated to the gofundme, or even had them in their thoughts. <

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