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Billy and Me: A Lifetime of Memories in 18 Months for Billy Meyer

Billy and Me: A Lifetime of Memories in 18 Months for Billy Meyer

Categories: Blog

AHRC Nassau's Lynne Brewer helps her friend Billy Meyer have a lifetime of memories in 18 months. She is pictured standing with Billy and her sister, Diane.When Billy Meyer was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given four months to live, AHRC Nassau Community Habilitation Worker, Lynne Brewer, knew what to do. Project “Make Memories for Billy” was started to make sure Billy would have a lifetime of memories.

“What Billy wanted more than anything else was more time,” said Billy’s stepfather, Michael O’Connor. “When Lynne got involved, there was no stopping her.”

As one of his chief “memory makers,” Lynne earned the nicknames “Tornado” and “Mom #2,” working closely with Billy on daily self-care and medical routines as well as his most heartfelt wishes. Lynne planned weekly adventures and celebrations to motivate Billy to continue to pursue his life goals and connect with others through activities.

“Each memory gave (Billy) a reason to fight and he did, lasting a year and an half,” said Lynne.

Most of Billy’s goals were modest. He enjoyed cooking for his friend, Lindsey, who was also battling cancer, and baking and delivering a birthday cake to his friend, Emily.

Some of Billy’s goals were more adventurous – go-carting, visiting water parks, attending his first polo match, and fun nights out with friends at Mulcahy’s Pub.

However, as Billy was supported and encouraged by Lynne to pursue his interests, his ideas became more creative; his network of community connections broadened; and people he had never met stepped in to offer their time and ask how they could help.

Billy loved anything by Billy Joel and always wanted to see the Piano Man live. In his last months, Billy sang regularly with Michael Delguidice, rhythm guitarist and vocalist for Billy Joel’s band, and lead vocalist and pianist for the Long Island band, Big Shot.

Standing beside Lynne, Billy enjoyed many evenings out singing with Big Shot, including at Mulcahy’s Pub, Concert Hall and The Paramount in Huntington. Michael also graciously shared two backstage passes and floor seats to Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden.

Another passion point was wrestling. Lynne connected with Garden of Dreams to attend a WWE wrestling match at Madison Square Garden as well as local wrestler, John Rage Lesser, who met Billy at different matches and attended his 51st birthday bash.

Another live-action event Billy enjoyed was “Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes” with tickets donated by NYCB Live – Nassau Coliseum.

In his last months, Billy also accomplished his goal of jumping in horseback riding, thanks to bi-weekly lessons donated by the North Shore Equestrian Center, while North Shore Saddlery provided riding pants, a shirt and horse treats. As his dreams were coming true, Billy remained focused on his family and friends. Important moments were shared at 50th and 51st birthday bashes, where space was donated by B.K. Sweeney’s Parkside Tavern in Bethpage.  More than 80 families and friends came together to enjoy a meal and good times.

“It was the simple things in life Billy reminded me to treasure,” said Lynne. “A song on the radio being sung as we danced in the car, a smile he shared and brought to the face of everyone he met, his genuine caring for all those in his life. He always asked how others were doing.”

Lynne is quick to thank “all friends and family members that made monetary donations that assisted with making memories happen,” and Billy, himself, for “helping (her) remember to see the good in people.”

Billy developed meaningful friendships during this time and connected on his fierce love of the Rangers, the Yankees, horses and motorcycles. Lynne’s close friends, Jeff S. and Dave Kohrumel donated tickets and time to attend events with Billy and developed a true friendship. On the back of Jeff’s Harley Davidson was one of Billy’s favorite places to be – and their support for Billy continued in his memory. Dave connected with his fellow officers at the Nassau County Police Department to have horses show respect at his funeral, while Jeff led the procession, sirens blaring.

Billy passed away on Sunday, July 22. Lynne continues to honor Billy’s memory with a new project. She formed Team “In Memory of My Dear Friend Billy” for the AHRC Walk, Oct. 14, in Eisenhower Park, to benefit children and adults with developmental disabilities

“I’ll treasure the time we had together,” said Lynne, “never forgetting that funny man who brought so many smiles to my face! I walk in memory of Billy and as I walk I’ll look up knowing he’s smiling back and happy with his mom, again.”

If you would like to donate or contribute to Team “In Memory of My Dear Friend Billy,” please visit their webpage.