An Ashland couple is asking family, friends and the community for help in their fight against a condition that changed their lives.
A benefit for Scott and Penny (Pagac) Sandor will be held from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. June 15 at Zar's Bar in Ashland, 49059 Highway 112.
Penny was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2002 at the age of 27. She and her husband Scott, both of whom are from the area, had not yet married at the time. But over the next 13 years, they went through many trial medical treatments that caused damage to Penny's lungs but led to positive news in 2012 when she was declared cancer-free.
In 2013, carbon monoxide poisoning affected Penny's already weakened immune system and lungs, initiating several collapsed lung occurrences over the next years. Her activity level became limited after being put on oxygen 24/7.
In March, Penny was flown to the intensive care unit in St. Mary's Hospital in Duluth because of major breathing problems. It was found that she had a hole in her good lung and her other lung was not functioning at all.
She was flown from Duluth to the Duke University Hospital in Durham, N.C., to start the process for a lung transplant. Penny's sister, Ginger Pagac, said Penny had her transplant three weeks ago and the couple hopes to be home for Christmas.
"She's doing well with it," Pagac said. "She's had a couple setbacks, but every day it's a good day."
Anti-rejection drugs are being used as her body adjusts to her new lung.
Penny enjoys being outdoors, four-wheeling and fishing, but her condition limits her ability to be exposed to the dust and pollen of the outdoors. She also has to be careful around pets she is allergic to and people who may have an illness. Her family is hopeful the transplant will allow her to return to some of the things she loves.
The benefit will include spaghetti from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and burgers and brats at 5 p.m. A variety of prizes such as Green Bay Packer box seat tickets, Milwaukaee Brewer tickets, Harley Davidson items, local art and Dewalt products will be raffled off.
In the process of organizing the benefit, Pagac has found family, friends, and the community to be greatly supportive. Local businesses have donated prizes and food, and about 30 people will volunteer at the event.
Funds raised will go toward the couple's medical, living and other expenses. Questions about the benefit and how to donate can be directed to Ginger Pagac at 715-815-0084.