Local fundraiser to benefit Arthritis Foundation

A 7-year-old girl and her family are trying to make a difference when it comes to arthritis. Hailey Near of Forestville, along with family and friends, will be hosting a benefit on Sunday, June 30 with proceeds going to the Arthritis Foundation.

This will be the second annual benefit Hailey’s Honeys have organized. The event will take place on Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m. at the Dunkirk Exempt Firemen’s Association, 203 Central Ave., Dunkirk. The event will be held in the parking lot adjacent to the club. Tickets are $10 each. A pig roast dinner and a chance to win a fishing charter donated by KONGO Sportfishing Charters are included with each ticket purchased. The fishing charter will be off the Dunkirk pier and the winner must have a valid fishing license. Dinner will be served from 1 to 4 p.m.

Hailey and her team, Hailey’s Honeys, participated in the Arthritis Walk of Jamestown in May where Hailey was honored as a local honoree. Hailey was diagnosed with Pauciarticular Juvenile Arthritis and Systemic Onset Juvenile Arthritis when she was 1. She was diagnosed after she slipped and fell.

“She kind of slipped but it was no big deal. The next morning, … she wouldn’t put (her leg) down. We noticed the swelling and my husband said take her to the ER,” Tracy Ossman, Hailey’s grandmother, said.

Last year Hailey’s Honeys was able to donate $9,000 to the Arthritis Foundation between the benefit and sponsorships for the walk. Ossman said it was due to generosity and support of family, friends and loved ones who supported the first ever benefit. This year the team, which includes four generations, wants to raise $13,000.

“Family, friends and the community have helped us. Without everybody together, it wouldn’t work. We were just overwhelmed last year with the people that showed up. We thought maybe we could get a couple more thousand dollars (than the walk),” Ossman said.

All proceeds benefit the Arthritis Foundation to find a cure for the disease. Recent research has linked a possible cause to genetics or environmental factors, according to Hailey’s mother, Michelle Ossman. Michelle, like Hailey, was diagnosed with arthritis. She was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis and is currently taking the same medication as her daughter.

Music will be provided by DJ Joe Gould, Noble Hearts, Hooman and Sean Patrick McGraw. A bounce house and face painting for children will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. There will also be a raffle for a chance to win a barn-like dog house, a 20-inch Mongoose bike, a gas grill package and tickets to a Justin Bieber concert in Buffalo, among others.

A 50/50 drawing and silent auction will be held throughout the day. Silent auction items include autographed items from the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Bandits and Matt Anderson, member of the U.S. Olympic Volleyball player, plus more. Tickets are available at the Exempt Firemen’s Club or by calling 679-5634. Tickets will also be available at the door.

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