In Times of Need, Northeast Pennsylvania comes to the aid of its own. In our regular column, we provide a platform for area residents facing a variety of obstacles to create awareness and connect them with much-needed help.
Who: Flor “Mackenzie” Pryzant could always be described as tiny but mighty. From the time she was adopted from Guatemala as an infant by the late Paula Pryzant and brought home to Northeast Pennsylvania, she fought for life. As a toddler, she was diagnosed as having non-verbal autism and ADHD, and by 16, doctors discovered Pryzant also had systemic lupus erythematosus and idiopathic rheumatoid arthritis. For years she endured chemotherapy, hospitalizations, testing and medication to battle her afflictions, never failing to continue smiling, laughing and flashing her trademark dimples. Pryzant went on to be accepted at Penn State Worthington Scranton, where she sang with the chorale and hoped to earn a degree that would allow her to enter the medical field and help children since, in her words, she knew what it was like “to be a sick kid and scared.” An animal lover, Pryzant also donated Christmas goodie bags to the pets at Griffin Pond Animal Shelter. On July 4, just a few days past her 21st birthday, she succumbed to a pulmonary embolism and heart failure in her sister’s arms. After her death, Pryzant still gave through organ donation, benefiting two people with blindness who matched her rare genetic makeup. Now, her family said, those individuals get to see the world through Pryzant’s eyes.
What: Donations are being accepted at GoFundMe.com or can be made payable to Gabrielle Pryzant at 702 Morgan St., Dickson City, PA 18519. A benefit pasta dinner that will feature basket raffles also is set, which will cost $10 for adults and $8 for children’s admission at the door. For advance tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When: Sunday, Oct. 13, 4 to 7 p.m.
Where: Dickson City Fire Department, 1 Eagle Lane
Why: Proceeds will be used to cover the final expenses for laying Mackenzie Pryzant to rest and buying a headstone for the burial site, where her remains are with her mother’s, who also never had a grave marker.
In her own words: “Our goal is to do justice by Mackie and have a gravestone for our precious girl. The community’s support and outpouring of love has meant more to my siblings and I than words can express. We need more help for our goal and to never forget our sister, who was loved by so many.” — Gabby Pryzant, sister
Update: Taylor tot Finley Fuller is at Boston Children’s Hospital with her family to undergo extensive testing prior to surgery to treat her cerebral cavernous malformation in her cerebellum, as detailed in this column last week. To help offset the high costs of the trip and her resulting medical bills, a GoFundMe.com campaign is active and accepting donations, and checks payable to dad Gary Fuller can be sent to Funds for Finley, P.O. Box 3753, Scranton, PA 18505.
Patrice Wilding is a 13-year employee of the Lifestyles Dept. at The Times-Tribune, where she worked her way up from a clerk to a web video producer to a full-time reporter, writer and copy editor. An Olyphant native, she graduated from Mid Valley Secondary Center and earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with concentration in media arts, political science and communications from Wesley College, Dover, Delaware. She lives in Clarks Summit with her husband, Justin, and their son, Johnny. Contact: email@example.com; 570-348-9100 x5369; @pwildingTT