Fundraiser helps family
Published 9:44 pm Monday, June 29, 2015
Eclipse’s Ruritan Hall on Saturday hosted a fundraiser for the family of a Smithfield mother and daughter who died about 20 months apart.
The event was organized by Susan Pope after her niece, Kayla Williams, 20, died in a single-vehicle accident on the James River Bridge in July 2013, and her sister Jeni Williams, 49 — Kayla’s mom — died in March from complications after a blood clot.
“A lot of people were asking me, ‘What can I do to help?’ so I did what I do best: I organized a fundraising event,” Pope said.
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Pope expected about 120 people — mostly friends and family — to circulate in and out of Ruritan Hall throughout the afternoon. They enjoyed barbecue plates, raffles, drawings, cornhole, kids’ games and music by Brian McCadden, Dan Jarboe and the Woodshed Project and The Heather Edwards Band.
As well as Smithfield, Pope said, family members came from Surry, Wakefield and Virginia Beach. “I wanted somewhere central, and Suffolk is very central,” she said.
The deaths, Pope said, have been hard for Scooter Williams — Kayla’s dad and Jeni’s husband. “He’s taking it pretty much one minute at a time,” she said.
It has also been hard on Kayla’s brothers, Travis, 25, and Amory, 19.
“It has been an outpouring of love and support,” Pope said of how folks have rallied to support the family in its dark hour.
Jeni Williams had a couple of trips to the emergency room, she said. While the family had health insurance and savings, Pope added, “I didn’t want all those expenses to drain the savings that they had. I wanted the kids to have something.”
By about 1 p.m., a good crowd had turned out for the fundraiser. The first band was getting ready to play, and folks were starting to venture outside to the cornhole.