Praying for Emma

Fundraiser to support cancer patient

The St. Jude Auction may be over, but Minden has another chance to contribute to the cause in a more personal way this Saturday.

Emma Zemaitaitis is a 14-year-old Minden resident who has battled cancer all her life. She is currently a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

Her father, Matt Zemataitis, is a member of the A.C.T.S. group through St. Paul Catholic Church in Minden. Kerry Easley, another A.C.T.S. member, is spearheading a fundraising event called “Praying for Emma” to help support the Zemaitaitis family while St. Jude works to remove a tumor embedded in Emma’s spine.

“They’ve been up there for a month, and they’re still up there,” Easley said. “Matt is on family medical leave, and you don’t get paid while on FMLA. St. Jude has them set up in an apartment and is helping with food and such, but the bills are still rolling in.”

To help the family financially, a jambalaya dinner benefit will be held this Saturday, March 10 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Easley Studios Courtyard at 105 Pearl Street in Minden.

“We’ll be selling the plates for ten dollars,” Easley said. “We’re going to have it set up where you can just drive down the street and get your plates, or you can come in and sit down in the courtyard, where we’ll have some music playing and things like that.”

United by A.C.T.S, three north Louisiana Catholic churches are partnering to make this event possible.

“We got St. Jude in Benton, St. Joseph in Shreveport, and St. Paul in Minden all going in together to help put on this fundraiser,” Easley said. “Hopefully we’ll raise the family a little bit of money, pay a few house notes, and get them over the hump.”

The churches are also partnering with the Greater Minden Chamber, Minden Main Street, and Melissa Brown of the ST. Jude Auction, who has allowed the event to use the “Little Town that Could” artwork.

In addition to the jambalaya day, Easley said he has also set up an account at Citizens National Bank called “Praying for Emma.”

“At any Citizens Bank branch you can call in and make a donation to the ‘Praying for Emma’ account, so we’re hoping to generate some call-in money as well,” Easley said.

This fundraiser is a chance for the Minden generosity that has become so well-known at the Auction to be applied to a real person in need from the area.

“We’re just hoping that we can help this young lady and her parents out,” Easley said.

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