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Fundraiser set to aid woman from bear attack  

By Staff | Mar 20, 2019

CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary Preparing for a fundraiser supporting medical expenses for bear attack survivor Melissa LeBarron (seated and standing left to right) are Cristal Stackhouse of the Turbotville VFW, Nicholas Tremble, Stephanie Tremble, and Charlene Schuler. One of the 60 plus raffle baskets is displayed and in the background is a quilt by Donna Blazer.

MUNCY – “Even the doctors said I’m lucky to be alive. I believe in a higher power and remain here for a reason, just now, I don’t know what that is,” said Melissa LeBarron who on December 12 survived a bear attack at her rural Muncy residence. “I was dragged 88 yards, nearly the length of a football field,” she said.

In 2014, LeBarron had a steel rod placed along her spine which she reasoned helped her survival. “The rod kept the bear from ripping me apart.” She went on to say, “I spent a week and a half in the Intensive Care Unit, and when I woke up, there was a chalk board listing all the needed repairs. It was long and among what I can recall included a detached ear with the other hanging on, scalp torn off, fractured hip, broken jaw, ribs and collar bone.” The survivor spent two months in the hospital having nine surgeries.

LeBarron also said, “I gave permission for medical studies to prepare doctors for possible similar events in the future. The doctors, nurses and staff were very supportive. When noting I might be depressed, they encouraged me. When I return for checkups, I visit the floor and the word will be passed along that Melissa is here.”

There was one bright spot during her hospital stay – the February 2, 2019 birth of her eighth grandchild, Rhet LeBarron. At home, LeBarron is challenged with some after effects such as irritable nerve endings and fatigue.

Members of the community, aiming to help defray medical expenses, are preparing a fundraiser for Saturday afternoon, March 30, from 1 – 4 p.m. The site will be the VFW in Turbotville where a committee of approximately 25 individuals will serve a spaghetti dinner, host a Three Ball tournament challenge, and a silent auction.

The point person for the fundraiser has been Stephanie Tremble, LaBarron’s beautician of rural Eighth Street, Watsontown. Tremble and her business associate, son Nicholas Tremble, are providing a wig for LaBarron. “Due to her injuries, the skin graft from her leg replacing the skin of her skull will not support hair growth. Nick and I are glad to provide this donation to her,” Steph said.

The beautician gathered volunteers, most of whom had never met LeBarron. Cristal Stackhouse of the VFW is organizing the site, and another volunteer, Charlene Schuler said, “We were sorry when hearing of the incident, and are glad to help.”

“Already, more than 60 baskets have arrived for the auction. They are currently on display at the VFW where tickets are available now until the end of the event. Among the Items are three quilts, a basket by UPS, and another filled with Easter goodies from employees of Lakeville Speciality Gardens of Washingtonville who will also provide lettuce for the salads,” Stephanie said. Entertainment will include a live band.

Core volunteers in addition to those afore mentioned are Tonya Sellards and Angie Carter. For more information phone Stephanie at 570-492-5848 or Cristal of the VFW at 570-649-5507.