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Fundraiser planned for Independence teen

Updated: 2013-04-24T19:48:31Z

By BRIAN BURNES

The Kansas City Star

A fundraiser is scheduled Friday to defray the medical expenses incurred by Independence teenager Gloria Mengel and her family.

Gloria, who recently turned 15, is described by her physicians as a “medically complex” patient.

Since September 2008, Gloria has endured many physical challenges, including two cancers (a brain tumor and leukemia, now in remission), blindness that came on after the brain tumor surgery, weight gain from steroids administered during efforts to preserve her vision, two hernias, a stroke and diabetes.

Gloria visits the Rehabilitation Institute in Kansas City three times a week for speech, occupational and physical therapy.

The stroke affected the right side of Gloria’s body, and she is working to gain more flexibility with her right hand. She also is receiving instruction in a one-handed Braille method by an Independence School District teacher who visits her twice a week.

“She is doing better,” said Tammy Mengel, Gloria’s mother.

“She is walking more in therapy, talking a little better and singing on pitch,” she said. “She wasn’t able to do that a year ago, but she is doing better.

“She actually wants chores.”

Friday’s event includes a spaghetti dinner followed by silent and live auctions.

The live auction items include Kansas City Chiefs and Royals tickets, a jersey and soccer ball autographed by members of Sporting Kansas City, and an autographed basketball signed by members of the 1980s Boston Celtics, including Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish.

“That was donated by a lady from Hawaii who has been following Gloria’s story on the Caring Bridge website,” Mengel said. “She had it packed away and she emailed me, saying that she wanted to donate it to Gloria’s cause.”

To reach Brian Burnes, call 816-234-4120 or send email to bburnes@kcstar.com.

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