PLATTSBURGH - Larry Ebersole Sr. has friends and family waiting on him to get back to the North Country.
The 63-year-old Ebersole is on the mend following a string of health issues that have most recently landed him in Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. His health issues are ones that stem back to 2005, said his wife, Nancy.
"He started getting sick ... we were a long time trying to find out what it was," she said.
After numerous examinations, it was found Ebersole needed a new liver. He underwent a transplant in 2007, but wasn't out of the woods yet.
"He was getting over that when he started having heart episodes," said Nancy.
That led to Ebersole needing open heart surgery in 2009, having an artificial valve installed in his heart. But, again, he was far from a clean bill of health.
In July, a mild aneurysm Ebersole had five years prior began giving him issues once again.
"It was in danger of rupturing so he had to have surgery to repair it," said Nancy. "He's had like four surgeries. He's been through hell and back."
Ebersole has been slowly recovering at Strong Memorial Hospital, where Nancy has been visiting him as often and as long as she has been able. However, the cost of driving back and forth to Rochester, including paying tolls and finding accommodations has been overwhelming.
"It's cost me over $2,500 already just in motels since June and we're on a fixed income," she said.
Ebersole is expected to be back in the North Country within the next few weeks and could be facing a stint in physical rehabilitation before coming home, said Nancy.
"He's anxious to come home," said Nancy, who added her time without her husband has been difficult emotionally and financially. "It's been a struggle."
That's what led to a benefit being planned this Saturday, Sept. 18, in Ebersole's honor. Murphy's Tavern, 225 State Route 22B, will host a dart tournament beginning with registration at 12 p.m. The cost to enter is $10, with proceeds to go to Ebersole and his family.
The event will also include a spaghetti dinner, Chinese auction and live entertainment. Organizers are doing whatever they can to draw a crowd in support of Ebersole, said his daughter-in-law, Tracy.
"We just want people to come support him and have fun," she said.
Those wishing to send cards of support or donations to Ebersole may do so in care of him to 20 Kemp Lane, Plattsburgh N.Y. 12901.