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Eating for a good cause

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Community members are invited to feed their appetites and show support for a Niangua family during the all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner, from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, in the old gym at Niangua High School.

Hosted by the Niangua High School senior class, this benefit will support Stella Craig, who has been diagnosed with a rare genetic mutation known as SCN8A, which causes erratic seizures, hypotonia (low muscle tone) and developmental delays. The benefit will include a spaghetti dinner, served with salad, bread, dessert and a drink for a $5 minimum donation for adults and $3 for kids. There will also be a silent auction, dessert auction and a 50/50 raffle. All proceeds from the spaghetti dinner will go to help Stella Craig and her family.

Stella’s father, Ken Craig, has worked in the Niangua School District for five years. He teaches social studies, world history and U.S. history in the Niangua junior high school and high school. His wife, Kacie, works as a radiography program director at Cox College in Springfield. Their family makes trips from their home in Ozark to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital on a weekly basis, in order to get input from various doctors about Stella and treatment tips, since her disease is so rare. According to Craig, it was around the first week of December 2015 when they noticed something was wrong with Stella.

“Everything was perfectly normal until that one morning,” said Craig. “Stella was just acting really odd, like an odd grunting and twitching. We thought there was something kind of different about it. A week after that, it was really exaggerated and lasted about 10 minutes, so we captured it on our iPhone and took her to a hospital in Springfield. We had an inkling it was a seizure and knew that was fairly common in kids. The pediatrician thought it was a little odd, so she immediately sent us to St. Louis. We have been there ever since.”

Several items have already been donated for the spaghetti benefit, but more are welcome. The Niangua senior class is looking for donations of baskets and items from local businesses. For more information, go to the Spaghetti for Stella event page on Facebook or contact Shanda Cullen at scullen@nianguaschools.net.

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