The Harlan Center will be the location of an Aug. 2 benefit for Michaela Brooke Greene, a 3-year-old girl who is suffering from the fatal genetic condition Leukodystrophy. The purpose of the event is to raise funds for a much-needed wheelchair accessible van so Michaela can get to her many doctor’s appointments at various facilities, some out of state.
Music, dinner and a raffle are on the agenda for the evening dubbed “A Miracle for Michaela.” The benefit will kick off at 5 p.m. with a silent auction running from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Auction items will include R.J. Corman Dinner Train tickets, a Craftsman miter saw, a Stihl weed eater and signed items from Grammy-winning musical act Audio Adrenaline and former America’s Got Talent contestant Jimmy Rose.
According to Michaela’s mother, Erin Greene, the costs and responsibilities associated with Michaela’s condition have been overwhelming.
“I had to quit working as a physical therapist, and my husband lost his job in the strip mines at Nalley and Hamilton,” said Greene. “He is now working out of town at R.J. Corman Railroad, and we’re just not able to get this van by ourselves. So, we’re reaching out and asking for help.”
Greene said her daughter has had as many as 250 seizures in one day’s time.
“Recently, genetic testing and MRI’s have confirmed a diagnosis of Leukodystrophy,” said Greene. “It’s a death sentence for her.”
Greene pointed out the family did not originally want to talk about Michaela’s condition publicly.
“At this point we have no other choice but to ask for help,” said Greene.
The benefit came together after the family had been selling T shirts to help raise money, according to Greene.
“We had raised about $1,000 selling the T shirts,” said Greene. “I had gone down to the Harlan Center and talked to them. One of the girls that works there — Amanda Middleton — I had talked to her about maybe doing a fundraiser.”
Greene said she did not expect the benefit to become as big as it has.
“It sort of just escalated,” said Greene. “Now we have had several donations from local businesses. I’m very, very blessed…I’ve had several people donate…God has really blessed us with the people in this town. I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity.”
Greene said they are providing free babysitting during the benefit for parents who want to attend with kids 12 and under.
“We have babysitters set up, and a room with an inflatable from Party Time Inflatables,” said Greene. “We also have the storyteller Pam Holcomb who will be telling stories to the kids.”
Greene said there will also be free pizza for the kids.
Greene pointed out that wheelchair accessible vans cost anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000. She added they had looked at used vans, but the mileage has been too high for the vehicle to be reliable.
All proceeds from the event will be used toward the purchase of the wheelchair accessible van.
Tickets are $25 each and may be purchased at the door or in advance.
For more information, you may contact the Harlan Center at 606-573-4156 or Greene at 606-273-2068 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe P. Asher may be reached at 606-573-4510, ext. 1161 or on Twitter #joe_hde