Fish fry to benefit local girl with rare disease
By Susan Shinn
For the Salisbury Post
CHINA GROVE — Vicki Honeycutt has asked for the community’s help once before, and she’s doing so again. A second fish fry is set for 4-8 p.m. Friday at First Reformed Church, 201 N. Central Ave., Landis. Proceeds for the fundraiser will be given to Vicki’s daughter, Christine.
Christine, a fifth-grader at Millbridge Elementary School, is undergoing a series of operations to combat the effects of Parry Romberg Syndrome. The syndrome is progressive disease that is causing the left side of her face to deteriorate.
In November, Christine underwent an eight-hour surgery at American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wisc. Her surgeon, Dr. John Siebert, used tissue from Christine’s back to fill in parts of her face the disease has affected. For her surgery on June 29, the surgeon will readjust the tissue on her face and remove any excess. He’ll also begin the process of reconstructing Christine’s nose, which has also been affected. Christine was diagnosed three years ago. Parry Romberg Syndrome is so rare that only 700 cases are known worldwide.
Vicki, who is employed by Bank of America, has insurance, but money is needed for out-of-pocket insurance costs as well as travel expenses. Christine’s dad, Jim, and brother, Matt, 15, will also be making the trip to Wisconsin. Vicki expects they’ll be there about two weeks. They will be able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House part of the time but will also have to stay in a hotel before the surgery takes place.
Vicki was overwhelmed by the success of the first fundraiser and hopes this one will be just as successful. Tickets are $10 each for three plate choices: flounder, shrimp or chicken tenders. Plates come with fresh slaw, french fries and homemade hushpuppies. The women of the church will also be having a bake sale.
There will be live music this time around, with Second Chance performing at 4 p.m. and 4GivenSouls taking the stage at 6 p.m. There will be a 50/50 raffle drawing and a giveaway of a photo sessions with Moments by Donna which includes an 8-by-10 portrait.
“I’m trying to make the event a fun community event,” Vicki says. “If everyone gives a little it really adds up.”
Vicki also has praise for Christine’s school. Before Christine’s first surgery, the guidance counselor met with each fifth-grade class at Millbridge.
“The children protected her,” Vicki says. “It was really an amazing experience.”
Her classmates sent cards and pictures for Christine to take to the hospital with her.
“Christine’s room looked like we lived there,” Vicki says. “It was a touch of home for her. They truly, truly cared.”
The November fundraiser meant a great deal to Vicki and Christine, too.
“She did not stop smiling,” her mom says.
“We are happy to partner with Vicki again,” says the Rev. David Franks of First Reformed Church. He notes that the fall fish fry was the largest meal the church has ever hosted, and he hopes Friday’s event will be even bigger.
“Christine is a great kid,” he says. “She’s a normal kid and wants to be normal. These surgeries and procedures will help her to be exactly what she wants to be.”
For more information about Friday’s event or to order advance tickets, log onto www.christines-hope.org. If you are unable to attend, you may donate a plate to a local family in need. In November, some 40 plates were donated to Main Street Mission. To send Christine good wishes, visit www.caringbridge. org/visit/ christinehoneycutt1.
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.