Michelle Tansley has worked hard the last few months to bring together more than 50 vendors for a craft fair, solicit donations and help secure matching funds from Thrivent Financial.
When the big fundraiser ends this weekend, she is hoping her efforts will have resulted in about $10,000 to help a woman battling cancer without health insurance pay for her more than $100,000 in medical bills.
Tansley has never met the woman.
“I hope to meet her one day,” Tansley said of Sycamore native Katie Meier who now lives in Colorado. “When she is feeling better … I look forward to it.”
Tansley’s craft show fundraiser Saturday is one of three events The Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. John in Sycamore will host this weekend to benefit Meier. The church also will host a drive-through dinner Friday that has already sold-out with 600 tickets purchased and a bake sale in between services Sunday.
Meier, 31, a former resident and member of St. John’s, is in stage two of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and has been through 12 cycles of chemotherapy and 18 days of radiation. She found out she was not covered by her insurance provider for these expenses.
Meier was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma in April 2011 before it receded and then resurfaced this past spring. She is now in need of a bone marrow transplant.
Robert Weinhold, pastor at St. John’s, said he still keeps in touch with Meier and the continuous community support from her native Sycamore has helped. Whether it was when his church burned down in 2004 or when a neighbor is diagnosed with a terrible disease, Weinhold said his congregation and community members have always responded.
“There are two things adversity can do; separate us from each other and God or draw us to God and to each other,” he said. “This is our Christian faith in action.”
Tansley’s event will feature 54 vendors including Hat to Have It, Connie’s Creations and Sprinkled Pink Sweets and will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. John’s on 26555 Brickville Road. The church also will have lunch available during the event. There also will be donation jars.
Ralph Brown, who helped coordinate the drive-through dinner Friday night, said each event helped inspire another for the weekend. The church’s Ladies Aid and Altar Guild groups are running the bake sale Sunday.
He said he was not surprised to see the outpouring of support as the Meiers have been members of the church for generations. And in his experiences, Brown said the congregation has never been one to sit back when someone is in need.
“St. John’s is one of the first to step up and grab the bull by the horns,” he said. “It’s always been that way and always will be that way at St. John’s.”
If you go
What: The Fight For Katie Meier Craft Show
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. John, 26555 Brickville Road, Sycamore
Why: To help former Sycamore resident Katie Meier pay for more than $100,000 in medical costs as she battles cancer. More than 50 vendors will be on hand at the event and donation jars will be available.