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Fundraisers planned for Indian Head woman awaiting liver transplant

Nancy Henry | For the Daily Courier
Wendy Burkholder Leichliter is awaiting a liver transplant. Her family has organized several fundraisers with the help of caring volunteers. From left are her son Orion, Wendy and her son Addison Leichliter.

Monday, April 1, 2013, 5:15 p.m.

Wendy Burkholder Leichliter has struggled for years with the effects that diabetes has had on her life.

She's dealt with weekly blood work, retaining fluid and the process of trying out different medications to control the diabetes.

Now, at the age of 48, the Indian Head woman needs a new liver.

“Wendy is on the transplant waiting list and has been moved up on the list two times due to her failing functions,” said Mark Burkholder, her brother.

In order to help the family with expenses related to a liver transplant, Leichliter's family is planning a number of fundraisers.

Leichliter is a single mother of two sons — Orion, 16 and Addison, 13. Orion attends Connellsville Area Senior High School and is active in the band. Addison is a student at Connellsville Junior High.

She enjoys her role as mom and hopes she will be able to attend her son's upcoming band banquet, said Burkholder.

He said his sister's spirits are good.

Leichliter was in charge of the salad department at Seven Springs from the time she got out of high school until about 10 years ago, said Burkholder.

She is a member of Mill Run United Methodist Church.

The first planned fundraiser for Leichliter will be on Sunday. The Indian Creek Valley Sportsman Association will hold a turkey shoot. It will begin at noon at the club grounds, 235 Keslar School Road, Acme. There is no pre-registration. Participants will pay $2 a round. Winner receives half of the profits made from each round. All ammunition is supplied. Refreshments will be available.

“We really appreciate the sportsman's association doing this on their own,” said Burkholder. Call Harry Knopsnider at 724-455-6394 or 724-812-6447 for questions regarding the turkey shoot.

Leichliter's sisters, Michelle Miller and Lynn Miner, are involved with the event planning.

A spaghetti/rigatoni dinner will be held 4 to 7 p.m. May 18 at Mill Run Fire Hall. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children 3-12. Children under 3 eat free; tickets will be available at the door or are available in advance from any family member. The meal includes salad, vegetable, roll and butter, dessert, coffee, punch or water. Take-outs will be available. There will be a 50/50 drawing and door prize; the winner does not need to be present.

”We will be setting out a donation can for the fire hall too, because they've donated everything to us, the use of the fire hall, their utensils. They even offered to cook the spaghetti and rigatoni for us and we are grateful,” said Burkholder.

A July 4th ticket will go off and a gift card basket ticket and a calendar ticket will soon be available, said Burkholder.

Leichliter is the granddaughter of Wilmer Burkholder, who taught math and coached track for many years at Connellsville. When he retired, he was recognized for never missing a day of school in 35 years of teaching.

An account has been set up for donations knowing that co-pays and anti-rejection medicines will be needed for the rest of Leichliter's life. Donation jars have been set out at many local businesses. Contributions can be made to the Wendy Burkholder Leichliter Liver Transplant Fund and mailed to 507 Eliza St., Connellsville, PA 15425.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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