Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tree of Giving Lights Way for Little Girl

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tree of Giving Lights Way for Little Girl

Article excerpt

21-month-old Sarah Amann faces a lifetime of therapy after meningitis took her legs, her arm and part of her face. A tavern owner in Hecker, ILL., came up with a bright way to help.

OLABEE'S SPARE TIME TAVERN in Hecker, Ill., has been selling the use of Bulbs on an outside Christmas tree.

That might seem a bit odd, paying to light someone else's tree, bulb by bulb. And it might seem a bit steep, at $5 a pop. But it isn't the bus iness that will benefit from the money raised. Sarah Amann will. She's a 21-month-old Hecker girl crippled by a rare disease. Shana Cahoon, the daughter of tavern owner Olabee Lohrberg, came up with the idea of the "Lights of Life Christmas Tree For Sarah." The fund-raiser has translated into hundreds of lights sparkling on the tree, with many more expected. One person dropped by with a $1,000 check; he said he was thankful his daughters were healthy. People close to home and across the country are trying to help Sarah by raising money to pay her medical expenses. The disease has led to the loss of her legs, an arm and facial skin. At the tavern, the names of the tree's lighters are printed on colorful, bulb-shaped pieces of paper that cover the walls. Those who don't buy bulbs have been given several other ways to help Sarah. The Dixie Express, a country band based in Millstadt, sponsored a dance and silent auction in Hecker. Another dance was held in Freeburg by high school friends of Sarah's mother, Lisa Amann. B's Styling Salon in Belleville had a "cut-a-thon" to raise money. And there was a golf tournament in Columbia, a softball tournament in New Athens and a turkey shoot in Hecker. Lions Clubs in Columbia and at Scott Air Force Base have sponsored car washes. "It shows you there are a lot of good people out there," said David Amann, Sarah's father. …

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