Week of Thanks- Erie family and local business turning tragic loss into hope for others

Local News

2020 has been a difficult year in so many ways.

As we head toward the holidays, it is time to give thanks and to see the good being done every day. This week, we begin our special Week of Thanks reports with an Erie family and a business, turning a tragic loss into hope for others.

It’s been three years since Don Yusz of Erie lost his life to melanoma. He was just 48. But his memory ,as a dedicated family man and someone always willing to put others first, lives on.

“Even through his cancer treatment and going through his trial, he knew it was going to be a long and tough road but he did it for other people. Continue the research and hopefully find a cure.” said Tatum Yusz, Don Yusz’s daughter.

“If you’ve ever been asked the question ‘Who would you want to sit down and have a cup of coffee with, alive or dead, and Don is one of my three people. I would love to sit down and learn more about him.” said Tom Gober, Owner of Gracylane.

Tom Gober owns Gracylane in the Millcreek Mall where Don’s wife Lori works. He never met Don, but is adding to his legacy of giving. Gracylane carries a line of rings Tom created. Each one benefiting a different cause or non-profit. One of the rings is raising money, $5 per sale, for melanoma research at UPMC Hillman in Pittsburgh, where Don was treated.

“We’re just getting started with this, but hopefully we can help make a difference in finding a cure for melanoma.” Gober said.

“My mom and I have always talked about which way can we keep dad’s legacy going. So, for Tom to do that and helping us out with that is just remarkable and something I will be so grateful for.” Tatum Yusz said.

Tatum is about to graduate from college, a milestone she can’t share with Don. There is, however, solace in the way her dad continues to inspire.

“It’s another way that I am seeing him still through others and it makes me miss him. But also appreciate these special moments I still have him in my life.” Yusz said.

Tom Gober owns four Gracylane stores, and while most of the rings will help groups in the towns where the stores are located, only the ring benefiting melanoma research at UPMC Hillman will be sold in all four stores.

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