SPRING HILL — Two Hernando County families facing severe medical crises have been bowled over by the outpouring of goodwill from neighbors and total strangers.
First, a Spring Hill man who prefers to remain anonymous showed up with a car for the family of 4-year-old Jenifer Moshier, after reading of the family's plight in a March 15 story in the St. Petersburg Times.
Jenifer has a terminal brain-degeneration disease requiring her to make numerous trips from her Royal Highlands home to doctors' offices in Hernando and Pasco counties and in Tampa. Three generations of her family, six people total, rely on one used vehicle to get to work, school and other medical appointments.
Jenifer's mother, Susan Moshier, 23, said that after the Times' article, a donor called and said he'd like to meet her. "Then he arrived with a car. He'd bought it, a Chevy Lumina, '93, in really, really good condition. I was a little surprised but I was happy at the same time.
"It was the first time I had met him," Susan Moshier said. "He was really nice. He met Jenifer and said he was glad he could help out."
Via telephone calls and e-mail inquiries, other donations have poured in. One woman, learning a vehicle was now in hand, said she'd like to give some money for insurance and gasoline.
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Meanwhile, a recent fundraiser for the family of 6-month-old Noah Nero, born with half a heart, raised some $5,000 via a spaghetti dinner, raffle and silent auction at Hudson Middle School, where his father, Bill Nero, 34, is a teacher and athletic coach. It was organized by Noah's cousin, Kim Hurley.
In last-minute preparations, Carrabba's, Marsala's and Gianrico's restaurants in Pasco County donated signature Italian dishes, said the infant's mother, Cherish Nero. Individuals donated more food, enough to serve the 300 who attended.
She said she didn't know many attendees, and credited a preview article March 20 in the St. Petersburg Times with swelling the crowd. "It was a wonderful turnout," she said with gratitude.
The dinner raised at least $3,000, she said, and the raffle and auction earned some $2,000 more. Included were a signed hockey puck from the Tampa Bay Lightning, an iPod, bowling ball and shoes, home interior decorative items, gift cards from restaurants, beauty salon services and vacation packages.
The entertainment was led by music provided gratis by DJ Sparky and a slide show, produced by Hurley, of little Noah persevering through two heart surgeries to date.
"His heart is good," said Cherish Nero. "He's off the ventilator, which is good. But his lungs are sick."
Beth Gray can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.