Melissa (25 Jan. 2005)
Contact: Crystal Wendt
----Source:Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, Wood Co., Wis.) Tue, Jan 25, 2005
Steak feed to help pay Neillsville graduate's rising medical bills Previous fund-raiser was aimed at 'dream' Disney World trip, but woman too ill to go
By Matt Ollwerther
NEILLSVILLE - After meeting success selling brats and burgers, a fund-raiser for a Neillsville high school graduate with incurable liver cancer is turning to a steak feed to pay her increasing medical bills.
The steak feed comes after a November brat and burger feed designed to send Melissa Kalischefski, a 1989 Neillsville high school graduate, and her family to Walt Disney World before she succumbs to incurable liver cancer. The steak feed will take place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Neillsville American Legion Hall. Tickets are $10.
"The response of the people in the community has just been phenomenal," said Mary Jane Struensee, Kalischefski's mother. Local businesses have rallied to her daughter's benefit, a number of them initiating contact with her, she said. Tina Schoengarth of Neillsville is spearheading the volunteer coordination and donations from local businesses.
Original estimates said they'd need about 10 people helping with the steak feed. That number has since grown to about 35 with an increased demand from those wishing to volunteer and others eating steak, Schoengarth said.
Between 250 to 300 people are expected to attend the event, she said, so she's coordinating a schedule designating each volunteer a task.
Schoengarth hasn't spoken to Kalischefski, who lives in Huntley, Ill., for at least 10 years, but knows her because her brother dated Kalischefski's sister.
Even so, "I just felt like I need to do something for her," she said. Although enough donations and funds were collected at the November fund-raiser to send the family to the Florida resort, the family still needs help paying medical bills, Struensee said. Their oldest daughter, Taylor, requires hip surgery within the next five months.
Kalischefski now is too ill to travel to Walt Disney World, Struensee said, but her husband Andy and their three daughters will likely travel to Walt Disney World at a later time.
"The sad part about it, it was her dream," Struensee said.
(Addition) If you go
The steak feed for Melissa Kalischefski will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Neillsville American Legion Hall. Tickets are $10. Donations will be accepted through the end of February at the Mid-Wisconsin Bank, 500 West St., Neillsville, WI 54456. Any gifts should be marked for the Melissa Kalischefski Benefit.
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