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'Just Wig It!' fundraiser is Friday night for Shaina Horton - Ocean City Sentinel: Arts & Entertainment

'Just Wig It!' fundraiser is Friday night for Shaina Horton

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Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2010 1:00 am

Four-month-old Zoe Palermo has seen her mother twice in the past two and a half months, after her mother Shaina Horton’s diagnosis of stage 4 choriocarcinoma, an aggressive but highly treatable form of uterine cancer during by Horton’s pregnancy.

Hoping to ensure the little girl sees a lot more of her mother, friends and relatives will host a “Just Wig It!” fundraiser Friday, Oct. 1, at the Flanders Hotel to help offset medical costs and to raise awareness of the rare disease.

Horton, a 25-year-old Ocean City resident, was diagnosed less than two months ago after giving birth to her first child, Zoe, following a series of misdiagnoses. Doctors found more than 50 lesions covering Horton’s lungs, liver and brain following a full body scan, in addition to a large tumor that had been feeding off of the placenta during Horton’s pregnancy.

Zoe was born in perfect health.

“It’s just been so devastating,” said friend and event co-organizer Bonnie Reckenbeil, who met Horton during their sophomore year at Mainland Regional High School in Linwood. “You would never have known she had cancer inside of her ... she’s always been a very fun, high spirited and outgoing person to be around.”

Horton began an aggressive round of radiation which induced one of the lesions in her brain to rupture, leaving Horton paralyzed and possibly mute, but mentally cognizant.

At the time of the interview, Horton was three days into a 10-day-straight chemotherapy treatment to prevent the cancer from spreading further, and had been in inpatient care at the Cooper Medical Center for over two weeks.

“It’s going to be a very long process and a very long recovery period,” said Reckenbeil. “All the expenses are going right to the family.”

To help combat treatment fees and expected rehabilitation costs, Reckenbeil and Horton’s family have set up the Horton-Palermo fund for donations and have spent the past few weeks organizing the Oct. 1 fundraiser.

The fundraiser at The Flanders will include a buffet dinner, beer and wine, a piano player and a DJ for dancing. The event will also include a silent auction and possibly activities for children, who are admitted to the event free of charge under age 12. Tickets will not be available the day of the event.

Most auction pieces have been donated by local businesses and include hot ticket items such as two- and three-day cruises to Mexico, the Bahamas and more, a surfboard donated by 7th Street Surf Shop, a $150 gift certificate to the Palm Restaurant in the Tropicana Casino, jewelry and a bicycle.

A photographer will also be present at the event, and the photographs taken will be made into a scrapbook. “We’re going to make a scrapbook (for Horton),” explained Reckenbeil, “so she can see the event and everyone supporting her.”

For tickets and information about the event contact Bonnie at 609-335-4927 and Erin at 609-457-9320 or email friends.of.shaina@gmail.com Donations can be made out to the Horton/Palermo Fund, and addressed to Keven at 941 Asbury Ave. in Ocean City. The Accent Gallery, where Horton was employed, is also accepting donations on behalf of the fund which be can dropped off at the Accent Gallery at 956 Asbury Ave. The “Just Wig It!” fundraiser will be held on Friday, Oct. 1, from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Flanders Hotel at 719 E. 11th St. in Ocean City.

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