Community rallies for Barre woman who needs lung transplant

Photos by Tom Rivers: Wendy and Mike Sanders are pictured with their granddaughter Payson this afternoon after a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for Wendy, who needs a lung transplant.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 September 2017 at 10:41 pm

ALBION – A Barre woman was diagnosed seven years ago with pulmonary fibrosis. Normally, a person can go 3 to 5 years after the diagnosis before a transplant is needed.

Wendy Sanders has exercised, lost weight and tried to stay upbeat since the diagnosis. She thinks that has given her extra time. But doctors at the Cleveland Clinic tell her she needs a transplant soon.

Her friends, family and even strangers rallied behind her today at a spaghetti dinner and basket raffle. They raised $8,600 to help cover costs outside of insurance for her to stay in Cleveland for about three months after the transplant. Sanders is waiting for notification when she will be on the list for a transplant.

Victoria Flugel, left, Mark Montanari and Sandy Sanders are among the kitchen volunteers. They had served 300 spaghetti dinners by about 5 p.m., with another rush expected at about 6 p.m. when corrections officers completed their shift. The dinner was held at the QWL building by the Albion Correctional Facility.

Sanders said she appreciates the response from the community. She has made many friends through jobs with ATB Staffing Services and at the Albion Correctional Facility. Her husband Mike has worked the past 21 years with the Medina Department of Public Works.

Wendy Wells, Sherry Montanari and Sandy Sanders were key volunteers in the benefit today, which included 137 baskets to be raffled off.

Mr. Sanders said his wife has been a model patient since her diagnosis.

“She has done everything the doctors have asked her to do,” he said. “She has been so positive. She doesn’t complain.”

Mrs. Sanders said she has good days and bad days. She was grateful today was a good day where she could connect with friends, including some she hadn’t seen in years.

On bad days the inflammation in her lungs can feel like an asthma attack.

The QWL Building in Albion on Washington Street was a busy place for the benefit for Wendy Sanders.

Many people donated baskets for the event. Mr. Sanders said Pudgie’s, Pride Pak and Root Brothers all donated either vegetables or rolls for the dinners.

He appreciated the turnout from the community, including man of his co-workers and Medina residents who he knows through his job with the DPW.

“The people here bent over backwards,” he said.

Donations can be deposited directly at Medina Savings and Loan in an account set up as The Sanders Trust for Wendy Sanders, or they can be mailed to: The Sanders Trust for Wendy Sanders, 13210 Ridge Road, Albion, NY 14411.

Ray Flugel sells raffle tickets at the benefit for his sister-in-law.

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