Powderly Volunteer Fire Department is rallying together to help one of their own as Lona Handley, wife of Assistant Fire Chief Ed, is about to begin the battle of her life.
Lona was recently diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia and as she prepares her fight against cancer, the volunteer fire department is preparing to host a Hamburger Fundraiser on Oct. 12, to help raise money for the family.
“Ed and Lona have been apart of the Powderly VFD for 23-years,” said Powderly Volunteer firefighter Randi Johnson, “they’ve both done a lot for the community over the years, and it’s our turn to help them out,” she said.
Johnson said the Handley’s have always been “all in” when it comes to helping out the community and giving back and that the upcoming fundraiser was about getting behind them in their time of need.
Although Lona isn’t active on the crew, she has still contributed greatly over many years to help her husband and their department in a range of areas. That drive to help hasn’t gone unnoticed or unappreciated..
“Lona helps with all fundraisers for the fire department. And not just our departments, but our neighboring departments as well. When chili supper season is upon us, she is a familiar face you can guarantee to see there, helping wherever she can. Ed and Lona make a good team, where there is one you can bet the other is right there,” said Johnson.
“Lona is a very giving person. She is always trying to help out, whether it’s trying to help someone out who needs food or just someone needing a person to talk to, Lona is always there. Lona has had rheumatoid arthritis for 18-years and still helping people. She doesn’t let anything slow her down,” said Ed lovingly of his wife.
According to the American Cancer Society, “Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is also known as chronic myelogenous leukemia. It’s a type of cancer that starts in certain blood-forming cells of the bone marrow.” The Mayo Clinic said, “Advances in treatment have contributed to a greatly improved prognosis for people with chronic myelogenous leukemia. Most people will achieve remission and live for many years after diagnosis.”
However, the Powderly VFD crew know all too well that costs can climb quickly and they are determined to help their friends have as much ease on financial stresses as possible so they can concentrate on treatments.
“The money raised will be to help with the costs of medical expenses and bills. We all know insurance only goes so far. Currently, the medication that Lona is to take, and has to take for the rest of her life, is $17,000 a month,” explained Johnson, “luckily they have assistance for a year with 0 co-pay.”
“Donations are being collected. And we are open to just about anything. Will be doing a live and silent auction. Anyone familiar with our chili supper knows we always have variety and we are doing the same for this event,” said Johnson.
Anyone who is wanting to contribute can contact the Powderly Volunteer Fire Department via Facebook, Randi Johnson on 903-249-1393, or any member of the department.
“Community has always been vital and important to our fire department. We do not take that for granted, their generosity. As a fire department, our members become family. And when one of our own needs help, we step up and come together,” Johnson said.
The fundraiser has been set for Saturday, Oct. 12 at Drakes Party Barn in Powderly. Along with the live and silent auctions, Stacey Musgrove and the Stoney Creek Band will be providing entertainment on the night. Door entry is $10 per person, and kids under 5-years old are free. The event will run from 4-8 p.m.
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