Teens Raise $4,000 to Help Family with Medical Bills

Post a Comment » Written on March 18th, 2008     
Filed under: News
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, IL (March 18, 2008) – Gladlyn Dahlgren says she is grateful to the teenagers who attend the Covenant Church of Schaumburg and recently raised thousands of dollars to benefit the family of her seriously ill grandson, even though they don’t know him.

Thirteen teenagers ranging from junior high to college age served a spaghetti dinner earlier this month that raised $4,000. “It was wonderful,” says Dahlgren, who works in the church office.

They served the dinner to help the family of Dahlgren’s grandson, Sammy Benson, who lives in another Chicago suburb with his parents, Collette and Chuck Benson. He was 10 years old when he suffered “massive seizures” last July due to what was later diagnosed as a rare auto immune disease brought on by vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels. Doctors induced a coma to protect the boy’s brain, but told the family there was a good chance he would not recover.

Benson has slowly been getting better, however, after spending months in Children’s Memorial Hospital and a rehabilitation center, Dahlgren says. “He can read, but he can’t write.”

He has returned to the mental capacity of a six-year-old and also continues to work on his motor skills, Dahlgren says. No one is sure how much of a recovery to expect.

A family friend, Martha Mueller organized the benefit dinner to help the family, which has been hit by high medical bills. Mueller says she was shocked when the dinner raised $4,000.

“It was amazing,” she says. “I thought we would raise $1,000 or maybe $1,500.”

She also praised the students. “We started serving at 5:30 p.m. and then when those people were getting ready to leave, all of a sudden there was another 30 people coming through the door.” Many of the people came from the community.

Mueller says she is not surprised at the hard work put in by the students. “They really have a heart for things like this. They’re just a very caring group of kids.”

She adds, “We’re a smaller church and a close-knit family,” The congregation averages an attendance of around 100 according to the Covenant Yearbook.

Dahlberg has long known the compassionate nature of the church. She was one of the founding members in 1969.

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