ASHVILLE - A benefit will be held for a lifelong Panama resident who has fallen on hard times due to ill health.
A spaghetti dinner benefit will be held at the Lower Lake Area Men's Association Club in Ashville from 2-8 p.m. on Saturday to help pay for the medical expenses of Steven Donelson.
"It started out with pneumonia," said Donelson. "Then I got chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Around (my house) I was waiting for Chautauqua Opportunities, because one of my furnaces had quit. During that time, I was without heat ... and I started getting real sick. I lost my appetite and it turns out I had fluid building up. By the time I got to the hospital in Pittsburgh, they had to drain fluid out of me. To be honest, I was down in Pittsburgh for about a month and a half, and I (don't remember very much of it), because I was so sick."
Fortunately, Donelson's wife has insurance that helped to pay for the medical expenses, however despite that, the cost was still very encumbering for the Donelsons.
Donelson returned from Pittsburgh back to Panama last week in good condition.
"I'm doing well," said Donelson. "I can get around. I'm going with a cane rather than a wheelchair. I'm still pretty slow and weak - stairs still bother me but I'm doing my best. A lot of it was just getting my strength back. I'm at a comfortable weight when I'm between 160-170 pounds, but when I was sick I dropped down to 120. It was unnerving - I was skin and bones, I looked like my mother did when she was 90 years old. But I'm doing better now and recovering well. I've had to give up some old hobbies I used to like, but I don't mind too much. Everything is a lot better now."
According to Lee Kester, one of the benefit's organizers, the event will have something for every member of the family.
"We've got Brian Chase and Nathan Grace performing live, and a disc jockey will take care of the rest," said Kester. "We've got a brand new steel saw donated from Jack's Saw Shop as one of the prizes, but there will be plenty else to win there too. Every child that comes to the benefit is going to leave with some sort of a prize, as well, because we really want this to appeal to the whole family. And of course, the food is going to be delicious."
Admission to the benefit is $10 for adults and free for children under the age of 10. Tickets for the event can be purchased at the door, and tickets for the giveaway and silent auction can be purchased at the benefit.
The LLAMA club can be reached at 763-9590 for questions or directions.