YORKVILLE - Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, Hailey M. Ullom, 18, is scheduled today to undergo spinal reconstruction surgery - a procedure aimed at preventing future damage to her heart and lungs.
Hailey's mother, Missy Ullom of Yorkville, said the surgery is potentially life-threatening, but without it, in the next five years Hailey's organs will become severely damaged because her spine is growing toward them.
This particular surgery, which includes reconstruction of her spine using tricalcium phosphate, will take place at the Cleveland Clinic and has only been performed a handful of times.
"I guess it's between her and God now," Missy said.
To help offset the cost of the surgery and travel expenses, along with a hotel for Missy because the Cleveland Ronald McDonald House is under renovation, family friend John Simmons is organizing a fundraiser. The Helping Hailey Night at the Races is slated for 6 p.m. June 1 at the Italian American Club on Sycamore Avenue in Elm Grove.
Tickets include food and draft beer. There will also be a 50-50 drawing, door prizes and poker.
Simmons, a Wheeling resident, said the Night at the Races is based on old films of horse races and involves people or companies sponsoring horses. On the night of the race, people can choose a horse on which to bet.
"On the night of the event, you bet on a horse and watch video of the races. It's a really good time. Everybody's hooting and hollering like it's a real race," Simmons said.
Those who would like to sponsor a race can call Simmons at (304) 905-3286.
Missy said Hailey's surgery is expected to last 12 hours and her hospital stay, at least three weeks. In preparation for the surgery, Missy said Hailey is not permitted to take any more pain medication, leaving her in "excruciating pain.'' Hailey uses a wheelchair and cannot talk or walk.
"I'm Hailey's only voice and I'm using it well," Missy said.