Struthers woman gets creative in raising money for 13-year-old with liver failure

Local News

Rachael Rendessy is raising money online for a family member who recently needed a liver transplant.

(WKBN) – Fundraisers are just one more thing that doesn’t look the way they used to. Still, just because we’re social distancing and following health orders, it doesn’t mean people don’t need support. For a Struthers woman, she had an “aha moment” when her young family member went into liver failure and she needed to raise funds.

Just one week ago, life changed in the blink of an eye for a 13-year-old girl.

“She has her whole life ahead of her. She’s not done anything wrong, she’s innocent,” said Rachael Rendessy.

Cora McNeal was flown to Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital from her home in Southeast Ohio.

“In the helicopter, she told her mom that she’s not afraid and that she knows that God is with her and that she wasn’t afraid to die,” Rendessy said.

McNeal was in liver failure with ammonia rushing to her brain. A heartbreaking scenario for her niece, Rendessy, who lives in Struthers.

“It was just devastating seeing her like that because she’s always just so happy and cheerful and such a sweetheart,” Rendessy said.

McNeal got a liver transplant on Wednesday but is still recovering on a ventilator. She doesn’t have health insurance so the bills are piling up. Her family also lost their home to a fire in February that destroyed everything they owned.

“I just knew that I had to do something to help in some way,” Rendessy said.

Rendessy knew a fundraiser would be hard in the midst of the pandemic. So, she turned to social media where she created an online auction.

“I know times are tough for everybody, I’ve been off work myself because of the pandemic. But as a community, especially for a young girl, we can make it happen,” Rendessy said.

The online auction is set up through a public Facebook page. People are donating gift cards to their businesses, baskets and anything they can offer.

“It doesn’t take much to really make a difference in someone else’s life just to show that you careā€¦ I know that my aunt will be forever grateful when she wakes up,” Rendessy said.

To help out McNeal and her family or to follow her journey, visit Basket Auction for the Benefit of Cora McNeal on Facebook.

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