Benefit planned for ailing former Milton-Freewater resident

Karen Wheeler, who suffers from liver disease, worked at the local Safeway.

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MILTON-FREEWATER -- A spaghetti feed and silent auction to help a former resident will be held Nov. 6 at 5 p.m., at the Elks Lodge.

Tickets are $5. Auction items include goods, coupons, gift baskets and services from local merchants.

Karen Wheeler, who lived in the area most of her life and worked at the local Safeway, has been diagnosed with primary biliary cirrhosis.

The disease, the cause of which is unclear, slowly destroys the bile ducts in the liver. Harmful substances can build up and lead to irreversible scarring of liver tissue. Medication can slow the progression of the disease, especially if treatment begins early.

Wheeler, who was transferred to a Safeway store in Alaska several years ago, was diagnosed a month ago, family members said. She is traveling back and forth from her home to Seattle and is hoping to get on the list for a liver transplant.

Wheeler is considered to be in end-stage of the disease, despite just recently discovering why she is sick, according to her daughter, Tenille Wheeler.

Money from the benefit will go to helping with travel and other expenses not covered by health insurance. As well, a benefit account has been set up at Baker Boyer Bank; donations can be made at any branch.

For more information call 509-386-9150.Milton-Freewater on ,Milton-Freewater of the liver and, while the cause remains unclear, is considered by many experts to be an autoimmune disease influenced by genetic and environmental factors.

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