John Mazur is the former ND QB and pro football coach who is suffering from Parkinson's disease. A story in the Boston Globe two years ago about John and his difficulty in getting by on a small NFL pension (see link below) prompted many here to offer a helping hand. The response of NDNation was outstanding, for which the Mazurs were very grateful. Last year a number of you once again remembered the Mazurs during the Christmas season with words of encouragement and financial support.
I recently had a chat with John and his wife, Bernardine. Sad to say, John's disease has progressed to the point where he is no longer able to walk. He lives in a two-story house with the bedrooms upstairs. This has required that a bed be set up downstairs in the living room for John. He wife attends to his every need, assisting him out of bed and into his wheel chair. From there he goes to his special lift chair where he spends his days watching TV. In the evening, it is back to his bed again.
His short term memory often fails him, though his long-term memory is fairly good. Wastching the NFL channel, he occasionally will see a game from 30 years ago where he remembers the players and coaches he worked with or coached against.
I mentioned to John the hopes we have for a national championship in the near future, at which point John informed me that he had a national championship ring. He was a member of the 1949 team which won the national championship and whose QB, Bob Williams, was named All-American. "I made Bob Williams All-American" joked John, who was his back-up. "I used to tease him that if it were not for me, he never would have made it."
John has had many successes in his life, but the best thing he ever did was to marry Bernardine. She is a saint. She has devoted her life to taking care of John for 29 years, no easy task. In many ways, taking care of him is like taking care of an infant who weighs over 200 pounds. Her daughter comes by daily to take care to take care of those errands that Bernardine would normally do.
Since John cannot now move his legs, for several months Medicare paid for a physical therapist to come by regularly and work with him. However, when it was determined that they could do no more for him, Medicare stopped providing the therapist. Now Bernardine has taken over that job, too.
When I asked if there was any news from the NFL regarding increasing John's pension, she answered in the negative. John does hear from his old head coach in Buffalo, Lou Saban, from time to time, and also from Joe Collier, another coach he worked with. Other than that, nothing at all from the league.
The Notre Dame family, on the other hand, has been a source of comfort and support for the Mazurs. They could not say enough good things about the financial aid and emotional support they have received from those with a Notre Dame connection. Over 300 of you responded to the first request for support for John. They can still use your financial help. All donations go only for John's health needs. Whatever you can send will be greatly appreciated, however large or small. Every gift will be acknowledged with a hand-written thank-you note. If you cannot send anything, just a note of encouragement to John will be warmly welcomed. Mention that you are a memember of NDNation. Mail can be sent to John at:
672 Cornwallis Dr.
Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054-3217
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