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Pasta fundraiser is set for Friday
Spaghetti meal helps two ailing teenagers
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Dinner organizer Kirk McConnell talks with Jenna Vorbeck in 2009. Vorbeck was one of two youths who benefitted from last year’s spaghetti fundraiser. - photo by File photo
If you’re going

The spaghetti fundraiser is set for 4 to 9 p.m. Friday in the vacant unit between the Donut Connection and 2 Posh Dames at 3225 Keith Bridge Road. Plates are $7.
As of last month, Kirk McConnell hadn’t decided whether he would hold a spaghetti dinner benefit this year.

Then he read a story about Ashlyn Poss, a teenager needing a kidney transplant for a rare genetic condition called Joubert Syndrome with a Dandy Walker Variant.

When he told his wife and daughter, they mentioned that North Forsyth High School student Morgan LeQuire was struggling to cover the costs of treatment for a rare type of brain cancer.

That’s when he knew that the fundraiser was on again.

The event, set for Friday in the Keith Bridge Road strip mall McConnell owns, will offer plates of spaghetti, salad, garlic bread, a drink and homemade dessert for $7.

All proceeds will go toward the medical bills of the two 17-year-old girls.

Poss’ family has set up a trust accepting donations to cover expenses for her acute kidney failure, but they haven’t reached the level they need for the medications associated with a transplant.

After experiencing severe headaches, LeQuire discovered last fall that she has pineoblastoma, a rare, fast-growing malignant tumor.

The teen has traveled to Houston several times to receive special chemotherapy treatments not available in Georgia. The trips and medical bills have added up quickly.

McConnell has raised about $500 since Saturday by passing out fliers to customers at his business, Donut Connection.

“One out of five times, somebody’s handing me money back and saying, ‘I’m going to get spaghetti, but put this in the jar,’” McConnell said.

Last year’s event raised more than $8,000 for a 27-year-old battling brain cancer and a 7-year-old suffering from the effects of a tumor that had been removed.

It attracted so many people that Forsyth County Sheriff’s deputies were needed to direct traffic. The office plans to send two deputies Friday, McConnell said.

He has added to this year’s event with a tent for outdoor dining. Bands and an open microphone will provide entertainment.

If the weather cooperates, turnout could top last year’s event.

“It’s kind of neat the way the community comes together on something like this,” McConnell said. “I think a lot of people really like helping people that need help, but they never see where the help’s going.”

A woman who works at the Donut Connection will be making a sauce recipe that has been handed down for generations in her Italian family, he said. A friend cooks the pasta.

The owners of 2 Posh Dames, a boutique in McConnell’s retail center, prepare the salad and bread.

Beth LaCava, co-owner of the boutique, said they jumped at the opportunity when McConnell told them about last year’s benefit.

“It’s an honor for us to give back to the community any way we can,” she said.

Her business partner, Sheila Ivey, said the two stores hope to hold the benefit every year to give back to local people who need help with medical bills.

“It’s such a fabulous community and it reaches out to people in need,” Ivey said. “I think it will be a success.”