Groton on the Inside: When catastrophe strikes, Groton responds

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Most of us have heard, and have likely quoted phrases ourselves, such as “No one is promised tomorrow”, “You never know when catastrophe could strike”, “It could happen to anyone”, or any other such similar adage that we’ve heard through the years.


The truth is, most of us don’t generally believe that catastrophic things will happen to us or our loved ones – we don’t even think about it happening – until suddenly it does.


Long-time Groton residents, Bruce and Loretta Graham, and their three daughters were certainly not expecting their lives to take a dramatic turn for the worse, without warning, when Bruce Graham suffered a “widow maker” cardiac arrest on Thursday, Jan. 3. He was taken by helicopter to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Syracuse, where he was admitted to the intensive care unit.


Graham then underwent an emergency angioplasty procedure where a balloon was inserted in his heart to help keep the airways open and assist with blood flow to his heart and brain. He also had a stent put in the LAD (a.k.a. widow maker) artery and was placed on full life support and a medically-induced coma. He also has mild cerebral edema due to lack of oxygen during the cardiac arrest.


On Tuesday, Jan. 8, the balloon was removed from Graham’s heart, which was beating on its own, but as of this writing, he is still on life support and remains in a coma. It will take time to evaluate the true extent of the damage to the brain.


Both Grahams are self-employed; Loretta is the owner and proprietor of Loretta’s Spa and Salon on Main Street, where she has operated her business for decades. Many might remember it as Loretta’s Shear Excellence “back in the day.”


Loretta and their daughters, Emma, Paige, and Kayla have been at the hospital daily as they hope and pray for the best outcome to the desperate situation they now live in as they wait and watch for something to change for the better.


Nicole Justice, a massage therapist, and Danielle Avery, hair stylist, who both rent space in Loretta’s shop, have joined forces to provide a means for the entire community to come together to help alleviate the financial burdens that lack of income, coupled with rising medical costs, are creating for the Graham family.


A benefit to assist the Graham family is being planned from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at Loretta’s Spa and Salon, 143 Main St.


Justice said “This family helps out so much in the community from donating their time and services to local events, to coaching a number of sports teams. Now it is our turn to return that help. All money raised will go directly to the family to allow them to continue to be together at this very difficult time.”


During the three-hour benefit, Justice will be offering five-minute chair massages and Avery will be doing paraffin hand treatments for donations. There will also be vendors such as Anita with Lularoe, Samantha with Norwex, and Janette with SeneGence who will have products for purchase and will be donating a portion of their sales.


There will also be raffles offered with a plethora of donations including 30-minute photo sessions with Jasmine of JC Photography, 16-inch cheese pizzas from Main Street Pizzeria, $25 gift certificates to Casper’s Diner, 30-minute massages from Nicole Justice Massage, $50 gift certificate for salon services from Danielle Avery, $25 Regal gift card, homemade soaps and laundry soap, four tickets to Opera & Izakaya at Hotel Groton Jan. 19 from 7 to 11 p.m., and numerous gift baskets, gift cards, and other items being donated daily.


For more information about the benefit, please contact Nicole or Danielle at (607) 898-2015. Loretta Graham’s sister, Cindy Williams, has also set up the Graham Family Medical Emergency Fund at gofundme.com/ctagp4-living-a-dream. If this is a way you might like to help, please visit the page.

Groton on the Inside appears weekly. Submit news ideas to Linda Competillo, lmc10@cornell.edu or (607) 227-4922.

In Brief

The roasting of the pork
The McLean Community Church, 50 Church St. is the place to be if you like roast pork from 4:30 p.m. until gone on Saturday, Jan. 19, sponsored by McLean Church Women’s Fellowship.


Roast pork, dressing, mashed potatoes, peas & carrots, coleslaw, applesauce, beverages, cupcakes, and ice cream will be served family style, and they will also have take-out meals available. Cost for adults is $10, children age 6 through 12 are $5, and all children 5 years old and under eat for free.


Pancakes for breakfast

The McLean fire station will host its popular monthly breakfast buffet from 8 to 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 20. They will be serving regular and blueberry pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, home-fried potatoes, ham, sausage gravy with biscuits, an assortment of juices, regular and decaf coffee, tea, and water.


The warm apple topping and rice pudding that so many know, and love, will also be on the menu. Cost for adults is $8, senior citizens $7, and all children $5. For further information call (607) 838-8249 or (607) 838-3444.


Groton Senior Club news
The Groton Senior Club will hold its first meeting of the new year on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at the American Legion on Main Street. Sign-ins and fellowship time begins at 11:30 a.m., followed by a dish-to-pass lunch at noon.
New members are always welcome; good times are sure to be had, and friends are waiting to be met. For more information, please contact Jane Belonsoff at (315) 496-2125 or cjanebelonsoff@gmail.com.

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