EVANS MILLS The family of Mary Angelica Prior wants to ease the financial burden for area residents who plan to pursue a medical career to help treat those who are sick or injured.
They will host a benefit at noon Aug. 24 at the fire hall, 8615 LeRay St., to raise money for scholarships for students who reside in Jefferson County and plan to study medicine or a related health field. The event is held in honor of Mary, who died July 1, 2008, at the age of 10. She was born with spina bifida, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, stems from a portion of the neural tube (failing) to develop or close properly, causing defects in the spinal cord and in the bones of the backbone.
We dont want people to forget her memory, said Rebecca S. Bushaw, Marys aunt. She was just a great little girl. We hope that someone would get into the field and help someone like her.
Depending on the success of the fundraiser, the family would like to offer at least three $500 scholarships.
At the time of her death, Mary was a student at Immaculate Heart Intermediate School, where Mrs. Bushaw said she received much love and support. About one year after Marys death, her family started the scholarship fund specifically to help with IHC tuition assistance. Other small scholarships also were awarded, and to date, the fund has awarded more than $7,000 to local residents.
An account is established at the Watertown Savings Banks main branch on Clinton Street, Watertown.
Mary, who used a wheelchair, was chosen in 2000 as one of the Childrens Miracle Network children. Her mother, Tammy S. Greenwood Prior, died in 2001 from leukemia at the age of 39. She had a total of 10 children with Brice M. Prior, who has since been remarried to Sue.
Mrs. Bushaw said the scholarship fundraiser will feature a family fun day with games for children, a silent and Chinese auction, and basket drawings. Some featured items include an autographed Derek Jeter picture, a hope chest, restaurant gift certificates, jewelry, a hotel stay and tools. There also will be hourly door prizes.
The admission fee is any donation people wish to give. All proceeds will go toward scholarships.
For more information, call Mrs. Bushaw at 659-8461 or 854-0219.