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Saturday, October 25, 2014
Helping a family in need
Friends initiate fundraising campaign for E.M. business owner who suffered heart attack
Courtesy Janice Ortellado
Courtesy Janice Pielhop Ortellado Robert Ehmer, 48, with daughter Maddy, wife Joanne and son Teddy during a recent trip to Disney World.

More than $86,000 has been raised to help Robert Ehmer, an East Meadow business owner who suffered a massive heart attack on April 11, with his medical bills.

After Ehmer underwent several surgeries, one of them a leg amputation, family friend Janice Pielhop Ortellado created the Robert Ehmer Recovery Trust Fund, on the website www.gofundme.com, to provide the family with financial help. In just over three weeks, the total has reached nearly six figures. “How much money we’ve raised, in such a short amount of time, is a testament as to what type of person he is,” Ortellado told the Herald.

Ehmer, 48, co-owns a BP station at 1878 Hempstead Turnpike, across the street from Eisenhower Park. He and his wife, Joanne, have been married for more than 20 years, and have a son, Teddy, and a daughter, Maddy.

On the website, Ortellado detailed the events that began on that fateful April day. Four months ago, she wrote, Teddy, hearing a noise downstairs in the family’s North Shore home, found his father on the floor. Ehmer was transported by paramedics to St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn. He arrived in the emergency room in cardiac arrest, and it took doctors 45 minutes to restart his heart.

One of the procedures they used was the Arctic Sun Temperature Management System, to control Ehmer’s body temperature and preserve his vital organs while reducing the risk of serious brain injury.

According to Ortellado, additional medication used to maintain Ehmer’s blood pressure caused a lack of blood flow to his extremities, and one of his legs had to be amputated below the knee. He has since been fitted with a prosthetic.

Ehmer spent eight weeks in the hospital before he was transferred to an acute rehabilitation center in Westchester County, where he is working to regain his motor skills, mobility and speech. “Everything is going to take a lot of time,” Ortellado said. “He has a long way to go.”

But, she added, doctors have been “amazed” at his progress, and the resolve and strength he has shown to improve.

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