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Fundraiser for local resident suffering medical crisis a success

Mary Beth Grau, seated center, andher husband John, standing behind her, are surrounded by some of her supporters at an April 19 benefit dinner in her honor. Also pictured: Lee Bennett, Bill Stevens, Roberta William, Lynn Halliwell and Phil D'Angelo.

Mary Beth Grau, seated center, andher husband John, standing behind her, are surrounded by some of her supporters at an April 19 benefit dinner in her honor. Also pictured: Lee Bennett, Bill Stevens, Roberta William, Lynn Halliwell and Phil D'Angelo. Christopher J. McAuliffe

— Approximately 300 people came out to the Skaneateles High School cafeteria on Thursday, April 19, to show their community, emotional and financial support for a local resident suffering a medical crisis and in need of a medically-appropriate home renovation.

The fundraising event, hosted by Caring Connections in Skaneateles to help longtime resident Mary Beth Grau, raised as of press time about $7,000, said Michele Tarnow, one of the event organizers.

“It was successful beyond all our expectations. The community really embraced this effort completely,” Tarnow said. “Mary Beth was thrilled and humbled that so many people who come out to help her in her recovery.”

Grau, a reading specialist at Cato Middle School, developed a blood infection as a result of a routine allergy shot in June of 2011. She spent 28 days in intensive care followed by six months of intensive antibiotics and physical therapy. In January 2012, she was removed from antibiotics only to learn that the infection had seeded in her hip.

Grau’s hip was removed immediately and is awaiting a replacement once the infection is completely gone from her body. She likely has a couple more months before there is consideration of replacing her hip.

Caring Connections was formed by a group of Grau’s friends who recognized that she urgently needs modifications to her home in order for her to recover from a blood infection that has rendered her unable to work as well as complete daily personal care needs. In order to recover and manage at home, Grau needs a ramp on the outside of the house so that she can get in and out of the house for medical appointments. Additionally, she needs a handicap accessible bathroom on the main level of the house.

The three-hour Caring Connections fundraiser for Grau, held in the SCS High School Cafeteria, featured lasagna dinner, music by Dusty Pascal & Demetrios Tsimis, a silent auction and a 50/50 raffle. A donation of $20 was collected at the door.

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