Christmas for Carolann

Published 9:40 pm Monday, December 13, 2010

By Heather McGinley

Staff Writer

This Christmas, many 11-year-old girls are hoping for television sets, Barbie dolls, cell phones, Hannah Montana bags and jewelry.

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For Carolann Lynch and her family, however, a cure and a way to pay down some of the accumulated debt that has been building up from Carolann’s surgeries, procedures, hospital stays and home treatment would be the ultimate Christmas gift.

Carolann has hearing loss from numerous ear infections and has required costly procedures and medical equipment through the years to allow her to hear.

On Dec. 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Carolann’s family will be holding a fundraising event at the Crittenden, Eclipse and Hobson Ruritan Hall at 8881 Eclipse Drive in Northern Suffolk. The event will feature a cornhole tournament, silent auction, live music, bake sale, barbecue and raffle.

Beyond being a fun event, “Christmas for Carolann” will benefit Carolann and her family, whose medical bills that were not covered by insurance total more than $7,000. Carolann’s parents have been paying the bills; however, the majority of what is left to pay is a home health care bill.

Carolann is currently wearing a hearing aid in her left ear that is on loan to her from the Loan Bank through CHKD. Having a loaner allows her to try out and order the correct hearing aid.

But Linda Lynch hopes her daughter’s upcoming February surgery will clear up her hearing problems. If the surgery does not fix the problems, her family will need to purchase a hearing aid priced at $2,000.

According to Lynch, surgeries and procedures are nothing new.

“Sometimes she has gotten down about it, and she has said, ‘I wish I could get new ears,’ but it hasn’t brought her spirits down,” Lynch said.

Carolann’s ear infections began when she was 2 months old, according Lynch. She had to have tubes in her ears when she was 1 year old. Through the years, Carolann has had six sets of tubes, eight surgeries and two PICC line procedures, which allow antibiotics to be put directly into Carolann’s body, necessary because oral antibiotics are no longer effective.

Doctors have taken cultures, biopsies and a portion of Carolann’s infected bone for analysis. She has been treated at CHKD and Duke University, but so far, no one can explain the cause of her chronic ear infections.

“She has had her ears scraped out and drained,” said Paula Hicks, Carolann’s great-aunt. “She is in a lot of pain a lot of the time. She’s a sweetheart. I hope someone reading will have an idea of what will work for her.”

The family hopes the event will not only to raise money to pay off some of their debt, but also will raise awareness and find a cure for Carolann’s chronic ear infections.

“For people who want to make a difference, this is a good opportunity to do that,” Hicks said. “Any money above what we need to pay off the bills will go in an account in Carolann’s name, which will cover future procedures.”

Anyone who would like to donate items for the raffle or silent auction can contact Missy Cornette at 303-5321 or Paula Hicks at 238-3332. The family has opened an account at BB&T for anyone who would like to donate money. If you are interested in donating money to this account, visit the BB&T at 3131 Bridge Road in Suffolk.

Registration for Saturday’s cornhole tournament will begin at 10 a.m. The family will award a cornhole board set for the first-place winner of the cornhole tournament and a set of cornhole bags for the second-place winner.

The silent auction will feature artwork from various local artists, new children’s clothing, a country ham, gift baskets, a Christmas wall hanging, a Christmas blouse, items from Chick-fil-A, items from Travis Auto, toys and a variety of other items.

A 42-inch television donated by Best Way Rent-to-Own will be one of the large raffle items.