Fundraiser to aid local woman

By Marc Girard

Mary Simonitto has just one dream – to walk again.

This dream is increasingly becoming a reality as Simonitto, an Amherstburg native, fights back against paralysis.

Simonitto has been battling paralysis since December of 2007, when she had surgery to remove a tumour from her spine. A leak was discovered in her spinal cord, which led to the Simonitto’s state of paralysis.

This winter, Simonitto was inspired by the story of bride Jennifer Darmon, who fought paralysis to walk down the aisle at her wedding in late April.

“I was told I would never walk again,” said Simonitto. “But I knew there was enough in me to try. I worked on my own strength for two years and have doing therapy for 10 months. The doctor’s told me I was finished. Seeing her helped me see that it’s more than possible.” Simonitto has been undergoing the treatments at the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery at Detroit Medical Center in Michigan. During her time there, she has made incredible progress and has began walking with the assistance of a walker, as shown in videos on the centre’s Facebook page.

All of Simonitto’s hard work has come at a cost. For her to attend these sessions, it costs her $400 per visit.  With no OHIP or government assistance available for her treatments, which take place in Michigan, Simonitto has been under some financial distress.

The event is being put friends and family of Simonitto, all of whom have watched her fight for the last three and a half years.

“This past year has been great for her,” said Simonitto’s brother, Joe Menna. “Things looked bleak. She couldn’t walk and had no movement from the waist. Her movement slowly came back and the decision to go to therapy was made.

“I can’t believe the difference. It’s night and day.”

The benefit for Simonitto is Sunday, June 12, 2011 at the Verdi Club on Texas Road. Tickets are $50 for adults, $20 for children and children under five get in free. Tickets include a pasta and chicken buffet.

Anyone wishing to purchase a ticket can contact Joe Menna at 519-969-7825, Mary Faccenda at 519-736-6720 and Angie Capaldi at 519-734-7712. If you are unable to attend and still wish to donate to the cause, cheques can be made payable to Mary Simonitto and are to be sent to Joe Menna, 642 Lake Trail Dr., Windsor, Ont. N9G 2M3.

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