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: Dunmore’s Donnie L. Welsch Jr. is a good-hearted, friendly guy who lived a very active lifestyle that included weight training at the gym, playing basketball and mountain biking. The 40-year-old forklift driver for Lion Brewery is a hard worker who’s always willing to help friends and family, like his sister, Chrissy, and his parents, Don and Melanie. On Jan. 30, Welsch was on his way to work when he hit a patch of ice and his vehicle spun out of control, crashing with a tractor-trailer. He was life-flighted to a hospital, where it was discovered that he had suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down. He has since endured a pair of surgeries to repair his neck and spine, spent six days in the intensive care unit and completed two months of intensive in-patient physical and occupational therapies at Allied Services. He returns there five days a week to continue to work at walking again, which doctors estimate has a 10% chance of happening. But Welsch remains determined to overcome the odds to regain an independent lifestyle — and his stride.
What: Tax-deductible donations can be made at helphopelive.org/campaign/15461 or checks payable to Help Hope Live, with Donnie L. Welsch Jr. written on the memo line, can be mailed to Help Hope Live, 2 Radnor Corporate Center, Suite 100, 100 Matsonford Road, Radnor, PA 19087. Help Hope Live is a nonprofit that helps patients receive support according to their medical and financial needs, and it will host a pasta dinner in honor of Welsch, which will benefit its Mid-Atlantic Catastrophic Injury Fund. Food is for dining in or take-out, and the event also will feature basket and 50/50 raffles and a bake sale. For more information or tickets, which cost $12, contact Chrissy Welsch at 570-430-1065 or Todd Williams at 570-906-1450.
When: Sunday, Nov. 3, noon to 5 p.m.
Where: Villa Maria Restaurant, 1610 Washburn St., Scranton
Why: Proceeds will help with Welsch’s medical expenses and medical equipment, including a handicap-accessible vehicle customized for his needs with hand controls.
In his own words: “I appreciate the support from family, friends and the community. Every bit — calls, texts, messages, cards — goes a long way and pushes me to work harder in my recovery.” — Donnie L. Welsch Jr.
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