"It's my sanctuary, the only place on Earth I really want to be."
That's how 60-year-old Debra Ebeley describes her childhood home on Lafayette Avenue in Palmerton.
"I can't imagine myself anywhere else. It's my safe spot," said Ebeley.
It's a safe spot more important than ever, as she continues a five-year fight with stage 4 breast cancer.
"We have it under control at this point so I'm hopeful everything is going to go well for me," said Ebeley.
But that's not the only battle Debbie is facing. Her home, built by her grandparents in the 1940's, needs a new roof. The water-damaged ceilings inside are jeopardizing her health, and that of her beloved pet birds.
"With my immune system being down I can't have any mold in the house so we have to be careful and they have very sensitive lungs," said Ebeley.
Debbie is on public assistance and can't afford the repairs herself. She also can't get a loan. When she posted a call for help on social media, Tracy Ahrens answered from hundreds of miles away.
"I started calling places in Pennsylvania. I've never been to Pennsylvania in my life but I called everywhere I could, networked with many organizations and there basically is no charity that can help her," said Ahrens.
The Illinois woman, a breast cancer survivor herself, had connected with Debbie online a few years ago. The two have bonded over their experience with the disease.
After having no luck with finding charity assistance, Tracy created a GoFundMe instead.
"She's fighting for her life and she shouldn't have to fight to keep the roof over her head," said Ahrens.
The two women hoped to get the repairs done before winter. Last week, the matter became even more urgent when the borough's code enforcement officer sent Debbie a stern written warning.
"He said I have 60 days now to get the roof done or I'm going to start getting a fine of $600 a day," said Ebeley.
Now the friends are hoping others in the community can lend a hand.
"It's not easy when you're on your own and that's why you need friends and friends become family. So I'm hoping the community there, which I understand is a small community of Palmerton, I'm hoping they'll join together and help her," said Ahrens.
"I want to make a good life here. I want to get through the cancer, I want to fix my house up, I want to be a responsible citizen and when I get through this, I want to help others. That is my goal in life," said Ebeley.
You can donate to the GoFundMe here.