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Brackenridge haunted yard to help patient

Brian C. Rittmeyer
| Monday, Oct. 24, 2011

Jamie Gray and Lisa Lang met for the first time on Sunday.

Both shed tears.

Gray, 26, of Fawn is putting together a "Haunted Backyard" to raise money for Lang, 42, of Tarentum, who is battling cancer.

They met in the backyard of the Brackenridge home Gray owns at 727 Ninth Ave., where Gray and others started working to get all the creepy crawly stuff set up for its debut on Tuesday.

"You never know what kind of people are out there," Lang said.

Gray learned by chance about Lang's plight at the Tarentum Eagles, where Lang's husband, Ed, is also a member.

Gray was talking there about having lost her mother, Beverly Bash, 59, to cancer on Oct. 1, 2010. Beverly Bash had been an Eagles member with her husband, Rich Bash, for 40 years.

It "popped up" that Lisa Lang has cancer, too.

Lang said she was diagnosed April 15 with neuroendocrin cancer, for which she's being treated. She's not currently working, having last worked at Wal-Mart.

"I'm tired," she said of how she felt yesterday. "There are days I feel like nothing is wrong. Others aren't so good."

"I haven't been out of the house in I don't even know how long," she said.

Making things harder is that Ed Lang was recently laid off from his job at Waste Management while his wife was in the hospital. They have two children, Megan, 15, and Austin, 11.

They haven't lost their health insurance, Lisa Lang said.

Gray and others had been talking about staging the Haunted Backyard for the benefit of the neighborhood and donating the proceeds to something.

Something became someone.

"This is something special to me. My mom is not here anymore," Gray said. "This is something that hits too close to home."

Gray's parents had put together a similar event for Girl Scouts in Saxonburg. Gray said this is her first time staging one herself.

The Haunted Backyard will feature a casket, graveyard and an electric chair. Displays will include "brains" and "eyeballs" for kids to put their hands in, if they dare.

"It's going to look totally different once we get it together," Gray said.

The event will run nightly through Halloween. On Halloween night, kids coming will get a goody bag.

Lisa Lang found out about the fundraiser when a friend, Brenda Field of East Deer, took her to where it will be set up. Field is president of the Tarentum Eagles Ladies Auxiliary.

The revelation earned Field a punch in the arm.

"I had to get it all wound up because that's all I got," Lisa Lang said after the love tap. She said she was saving up strength for another one for her husband, who already knew of Gray's effort.

The Haunted Backyard isn't the only benefit to help Lang. The Tarentum Eagles plan a spaghetti dinner from 1 to 5 p.m. Nov. 6 at the club, 204 Wood St.

Gray doesn't have a goal for how much she hopes to raise. All donations will go to Lang and her family.

"I can't wait to see how it turns out. I'm excited," Gray said.

Additional Information:

Coming up

What: Haunted Backyard

When: Dark to 11 p.m., Tuesday to Oct. 31

Where: 727 9th Ave., Brackenridge

Donation: Small children free; older children and teens $2; adults $5

Additional Information:

How to help

Donations to help cancer patient Lisa Lang can be made at any First Niagara Bank branch in care of Lisa Lang/Brenda Field.

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