Centre Ridge Elementary School held a mini-walk fund-raiser at the school on Saturday, June 9, to raise money for burn victim and Centreville resident Ashley Mauter, whose mother Kathy Young teaches sixth grade at the school.
THE AID FOR ASHLEY fund-raiser included a raffle that went on the entire school week before the walk, as well as a collection of loose change. The community raised more than $12,200 to ease the burden of the medical bills necessary for Mauter's recovery.
"I knew what this family was going through and what they were going to have to endure in the next few years and how expensive it is going to be," said Sean Lanigan, 40, who first pitched the idea for a fund-raiser. He has been a physical education teacher at Centre Ridge for 11 years, and knows Young personally.
"I heard about the accident when it happened, and I wanted to help her and put something together to help out," said Lanigan.
Mauter suffered third-degree burns on her legs and arm, and smoke inhalation in a fire at her college in Charlottesville on March 18. She spent time recovering at the University of Virginia Medical Center Surgical Burn Intensive Care Unit, but was released three weeks ago and is now in rehabilitation.
More than 150 people attended the fund-raiser, where 350 raffle tickets where sold throughout the week, and before and after the walk around the neighborhood.
"We have had many generous donations," said Julie Blake, 30, who helped coordinate the raffle. "Some people didn't even buy raffle tickets, they just gave money."
Prizes for the raffle included an autographed D.C. United ball, CD's, a Longaberger gift basket, and gift certificates to places such as Bonefish Grill, Carrabbas, Glory Days Grill, Best Buy and Shopper's Food Warehouse.
IN THE WEEKS leading up to the fund-raiser, students from each class were encouraged to donate as much loose change as possible to raise more money for Mauter. Erin Cooney's fifth-grade class raised the most money, scraping together a donation of almost $1,000.
"I've known Ashley since she was in high school, and I've worked with her mother for a long time," said Anne Flannagan, 38, who teaches at Centre Ridge and organized the fund-raiser. "Ashley and Kathy like to act silly together; one of their favorite songs is 'Holla Back,' and when Kathy sang it to her in the hospital, Ashley recognized it," she said.
"Ashley is a real live wire," said Pat Kallman, 60. "If anyone could overcome this it would be her. Ashley and her mother have so much strength."
Young released a statement expressing her's and her family's gratitude to the Centre Ridge community, which was read at the fund-raiser before the walk.
"There have been lots of prayers, cards, visits, donations, books, craft kits, and food baskets and it hasn't stopped. [The Centre Ridge community] is going above and beyond to help a young woman they know through me but may have not yet met," wrote Young. "Thank you for taking time out of your day to walk for Ashley."