‘Walk with Jamie’ benefit raises more than $3,000
By SAMANTHA COSSICK, @SCossickPO
SHIPPENSBURG – Becoming paralyzed from the waist down may seem like the end of walking, but not for Jamie Clendening who’s determined to walk again.
Friends, family and various community members and organizations came out Saturday to help Clendening realize her goal by donating more than $3,000 during the Walk With Jamie at Southampton Township park.
“It’s been a great turnout. We raised over $3,000 today. Our goal was $1,000. It was awesome to see the community come together ,” said Heather Franzoni, public relationships officer for Shippensburg EMS, who sponsored Saturday’s event. Clendening’s husband Randy is part of the EMS personnel and works at Franklin County Jail.
Clendening became paralyzed last December after complications from a tethered spinal cord release surgery.
“Since then, I’ve had to learn everything all over again,” she said. “I have an 11-year-old and a 2-year-old so I just want to be able to play with them.” Having used up all physical therapy treatments available through her insurance, Clendening has been relying on in-home therapy, but is hoping to purchase her own RT300, which had allowed her to stand and walk a short distance during doctor-assisted therapy in Baltimore. The machine costs about $15,000.
“She’s an inspiration. She’s been through a lot of battles. She doesn’t give up and she’s a fighter,” said Clendening’s father Jerry Brown, Shippensburg. Brown came out Saturday and walked lap after lap for hours in support of his daughter and in honor of everyone who donated to help her out.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “It’s amazing. It’s nice to know that people in the community care.”
The families work with the EMS and jail have brought them in contact with a lot of people who know how great they are, Brown said.
“They’re really well liked in the community,” he said. “They know she’s outgoing and always has a smile on her face. I don’t know how she does it. She keeps me going.”
Dan Keen, warden at Franklin County Jail, has known the Clendening for two years now.
“Officer Clendening is our family. His family is our family,” he said. “It’s important to take care of one another.”
Keen was appreciative of the great turnout Saturday as he walked laps around Southampton Park for several hours.
“I wish we could do this more often,” he said.
Crystal Shindledecker, an LPN at Franklin County Jail, used Saturday’s event as a chance to not only help out people she knows, but also as a learning opportunity for her daughters.
“I have my two daughters here today trying to teach them to give back to the community,” she said. “It kind of hits home when it’s somebody you know.”
Being able to help out Clendening is extremely rewarding, especially since Clendening has always has always remained optimistic.
“She’s always had a good outlook in everything and is positive,” Shindledecker said.
The amount of people who have supported her and the money that has been raised on her behalf has just been incredible, Clendening said.
“I’m just overwhelmed by the support and response from the community,” she said. “I’m just speechless from the way everyone has responded.”
To help Clendening, checks made out to “Shippensburg EMS” can be mailed or dropped off at the station, 711 E. Orange St., Shippensburg, Pa. 17257.
Samantha Cossick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 262-4762