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Fundraiser Scheduled for Local Children Suffering Series of Tragic Losses

Three children are left behind after the parents and grandma die within six months of each other.
GERMANTOWN HILLS – Three Peoria-area children are dealing with a series of tragic losses, but family friends are hopeful a weekend fundraiser will help them to continue on.

It’s hard for Jessica Wagner to describe three painful losses. She said, “Just when we thought it couldn't get worse, it got worse, then it got worse again.”

Last August, her close friend Ed McAbee lost his life in a motorcycle accident. Then, in late Decemeber, Ed’s longtime companion and Jessica’s best friend, Sally Gunterman, died in a car accident.

A month later, in January, Sally’s mother, Karen, passed away.

Wagner said, “It's like a bad storybook and it's just unbelievable that it would happen. Especially to those kids. Those kids, they're such good kids.”

The couple left behind eight-year-old Ryan, 10-year-old Jazmine, and Ed’s son, 15-year-old Daniel.

The children are now moving forward, without their biggest supporters.

When asked how they are doing, their great aunt, Sandy Miller, said, "Better than I expected.”

Miller said they live with close friends, who agreed to raise them if anything should happen to their parents. “The family that took them, I mean they have two girls of their own and they've been wonderful and they're doing everything for the kids but it's a big undertaking.”

This fundraiser will help all of them. It will help Ryan continue karate and Jazmine go to gymnastics. Daniel is preparing to get his driver’s license. Miller said, “We just want to have some money to help them along with their education and make sure that they're taken care of.”

For the remaining friends and family, they said it brings them a little bit of peace. They’re helping Sally and Ed’s pride and joy have as normal lives as they can.

Wagner said, “They are great kids and they will recover and they will go on. And they know at least they got the time they did get with their parents to know they loved them.”

The Sally and Ed Memorial Fundraiser will take place Saturday, August 17. It will be held from 1 PM to 11 PM at the American Legion in Spring Bay. There will be live music, carnival games for kids, and a horseshoe tournament. There is a $20 for team entry in the horseshoe tournament.

Prior to that, there is a Poker Run kicking off at 11 AM at the Crow’s Nest in Peoria Heights. It’s $15 for bikers, $5 for extra riders.

You can take a look at the event’s Facebook page here.
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