Community offers support to woman

LEWISTOWN – Area residents have come together to support Tarynn Sullivan, of Burnham, as she undergoes what her family hopes is the final surgery after an injury incurred in 2009.

While playing goalie for the Indian Valley High School soccer team, Tarynn was kicked in the side, resulting in a severed pancreas. She was in the hospital for two months followed by six months of live-in assistance at home.

Four years later, Tarynn was still experiencing chronic pain and went for a whipple procedure, which removes part of the pancreas, at Johns Hopkins, said Tasia Sullivan, Tarynn’s sister. Due to a number of unexpected complications, Tarynn has been in a chemically induced coma since the surgery two weeks ago.

“She’s been in a coma since June 12 and she’s had 11 surgeries since then,” Tasia said. “Her abdomen is completely open because there’s so much fluid. Every day, they go in and clean out the fluid to see if they can close her up, but they keep finding leaks through her sutures.”

Tasia said the doctors hope to close Tarynn’s abdomen area by the end of the week, but it’s been really rough on the whole family.

“During this whole thing, I’ve been so thankful to come from a small town,” Tasia said. “The support has just been amazing. The other day, a woman named Amber Kulp called me to ask about holding a fundraiser for our family. I don’t even know her.”

Kulp is hosting a spaghetti dinner on July 14 from noon to 4 p.m. at Brooklyn Fire Co. Tickets are $7 each and raffle tickets will be available for purchase. All proceeds will go to Tarynn and her family.

“I had been closely following the Prayers for Tarynn page on Facebook and they posted the article from 2009 about the fundraiser they had for her then,” Kulp said. “Something powerful came over me and I thought, why can’t someone do this again, and so I began.”

The outpouring of community support, from all corners of the county, has been overwhelming and such a blessing, Kulp said. More than 50 local businesses and families have donated money to the family or food and supplies for the fundraising event, she said.

“A waitress at the HoneyCreek Inn overheard me telling Tarynn’s story and she emptied out her apron pockets and said, ‘Give this to her,'” Kulp said. “Pastor Bernard Carpenter and his wife donated money to pay for three meals at the dinner. He said, ‘Use this to buy a meal for someone who can’t.'”

Chef Calvin Piper is donating his time to make the spaghetti dinner. Several individuals, local restaurants and other businesses donated food and other items to make the spaghetti supper a reality.

“It’s angels like that, and every individual, and every business, that make this such a wonderful community to live in,” Kulp said. “There is so much good here.”

For more information about the spaghetti dinner, or to donate to the event, contact Amber Kulp at 320-2483. Updates on Tarynn’s condition can be found at the Prayers for Tarynn Facebook page.