Grace Lutheran’s fish fry on Oct. 9 benefits Emma Myers – Salisbury Post
By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post
SALISBURY – Emma Myers has a few things on her bucket list. She wants to go bear hunting and deep sea fishing. Most are not typical of a 16 year old girl, but Emma’s journey over the past 12 years is not typical either. In fact, most medical professionals haven’t even heard of Emma’s illness.
The complex regional pain syndrome has been described as the most painful disease known to man. There is no cure, but remission is possible. Emma is making progress and the prognosis for her return to a normal life is good. Her treatment costs over $ 3,000 a week and family members have suffered high living expenses near the Spero Clinic in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The Grace Lutheran Church Fish Fry’s 13th Annual Men on Missions benefits Emma’s overwhelming medical bills and other expenses since CRPS took control of her life. As one of the largest fundraisers in Rowan, church members prepare fish dinners that are both to eat and take away. A huge raffle includes items that are now being collected but already include a family photography session, half day fishing trip, Benelli shotgun, and a very popular pallet art.
At the age of 4, Emma had the last operation to correct a clubfoot on her right side. Pain began to creep up that side until she finally couldn’t walk or go to school. She couldn’t bear to be touched by anything in this area. CRPS, also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, is a chronic pain disorder in which high levels of nerve impulses are sent to an affected area. It mostly occurs after an injury, but doctors believe Emma’s case began with the surgery. Experts believe that CRPS occurs due to a dysfunction of the central or peripheral nervous system.
Emma’s mother Melisa said, “When there didn’t seem to be a lot of hope other than physiotherapy to just get her working again, I started researching like crazy. Emma had been doing physical therapy at Chapel Hill for over a year and while regaining mobility there was no relief from the pain and the CRPS began to spread a little. Through my research, I found a doctor in Cary, North Carolina, Dr. David Pascal who worked with CRPS patients. He was wonderful and gave Emma a lot of hope and encouragement. “
After seeing Emma for a long time, Dr. Pascal told the Myers family that he really felt they needed a much more intense program than he could offer and advised them to come to the Spero Clinic. Dr. Pascal was the mentor of a doctor at Spero, where more comprehensive treatment was available.
Melisa said, “But it took us something to get here because of the cost. Fortunately, after praying a lot, we knew that we had to bring her here, this is her life we are fighting for. We were able to borrow the money to get started and here we are! Emma was a tough case though, the average patient has been here for 12-16 weeks. We are working on week 32 so it was quite an unexpected and long fight but it works !! Her pain started to subside in week 27 and although we have a long way to go, Emma is really looking forward to the future and making plans and goals! “
Back to those bucket list items. Emma has her right in her sights and said, “One day I want to just run and run. And go for a walk with my grandpa, then climb the Continental Divide! “
Emma will complete the Spero program when she has two consecutive weeks without pain.
Chairperson Mike Yost and Robin Bernhardt lead Church efforts. Together with an active committee, they have been planning for weeks and are expecting a great day.
Bernhardt said: “Our church members support the fry on a large scale. We want to ditch everything this year and make Emma’s advantage the best of all time. “
Yost said, “To decide who the committee would vote for, we met three times. In the end, everyone said with much prayer and reflection that God had brought them to Emma. “
The peak revenue from fry has historically been just under 60,000 US dollars.
Charlie Myers and Ronnie Williams, Emma’s father and grandfather, will both be in the fry, while Emma and Melissa will stay in Arkansas. Other family members include Emma’s siblings Olin, Cole, and Alli.
New this year is an outdoor raffle on the church lawn. The tables are separated with plenty of room to walk around. All winners will be drawn that evening. Flounder fish platters are $ 12 for adults and $ 6 for children, and include fries, coleslaw, dessert, and a drink. Hot dogs are also offered. Sufficient parking spaces and a shuttle service are available. The food is in one place this year, with carry-outs in a different area, all starting at 4pm and continuing until all of the fish is sold.
For more information or to make a donation, call Yost at 704-213-1262, Bernhardt at 980-234-4140, or the church at 704-857-8641. The church is located at 3020 Grace Church Road.