Benefit dinner, auction to be held for Wheaton native

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

County's deputy assessor diagnosed with Leukemia, needs help with medical bills


A benefit dinner and silent auction will be held for Angela Prewitt at Ridgley Baptist Church Saturday from 5-8 p.m.

Prewitt, a Wheaton native, was diagnosed with Leukemia in July, is undergoing chemotherapy treatments in St. Louis and needs a bone marrow transplant. All proceeds from the event, which are by donation only, will go toward Prewitt's medical and related expenses.

In addition to dinner, there will be a silent auction, door prizes, musical entertainment, bake sale, gun drawing and a bounce house for children. Entertainment will be provided by country-western band Bob Roper's Horse Thieves and the Emmanuel Baptist Church Praise Team of Cassville.

Meal options include smoked ham, pulled pork sandwich or spaghetti, side dishes and dessert. Meat is being donated by John Sullivan and Jim Fohn. The dinner will be held in the church's 
multipurpose building.

Prewitt, who has worked as deputy assessor at the Barry County Assessor's office for 23 years, has not been able to work since July due to her illness, said Sherry Sears, Barry County assessor. After her benefits were exhausted in July, Prewitt has had no income coming in.

Sears said over about a six month period, Prewitt was gradually becoming sicker and one day, told her she did not think she could get through the rest of the day. After that, her husband took her to Cox in Springfield, where she was diagnosed.

"She's an awesome friend, not just an employee," Sears said. "We love her like family. She's like a sister to us here. We have 10 employees, and I treat my employees like they are my family members. Family comes first. We all work together as a team and just get it done."

Sears, Prewitt's daughters Tara Beck and Casey Prewitt, Desiree Corn and sister-in-law Jean Henderson are all either organizing the event, cooking or collecting donations, along with help from others.

"There's a whole family group working together to do this," said Jean Henderson, who attends Ridgley Baptist Church, where the Prewitts have a strong family connection. "Their church in Granby is also helping to provide food for the meals."

The auction will have a variety of items up for bidding.

"There will be movie tickets, Bath and Body Works lotions, pies and 31 bags, so there will be a little bit of everything at the auction," Beck said. "We will also be having a [drawing] for a collector's gun."

Sears said Prewitt's husband, Howard Prewitt, who owns Prewitt's Electrical and Plumbing, also had to quit working due to her illness, and is traveling back and forth to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis to be with his wife while she receives her treatments.

"He didn't want to leave her," Sears said. "The first [chemotherapy] treatment was about five weeks ago, then she was home for a week, then back again."

Beck said Prewitt is responding well to treatment. But, during breaks in between treatments, the cancer cells are attempting to reproduce, necessitating the need for a bone marrow transplant, on which the success of her recovery is riding. Prewitt is scheduled to receive the transplant on Nov. 5 from her sister, Sarah Hutsell.

"As long as her body doesn't reject the transplant, the prognosis is good," Sears said. "The prayers are what have kept her alive so far. We ask anyone and everyone to pray that her body accepts the transplant and not reject it. We're so hopeful that's what's going to happen."

"Any prayers are appreciated," Beck said. "Our faith is very strong and we know that's going to be what heals her."

If any individual or business would like to make a monetary donation, donate a baked good, or other items for the silent auction, they can contact Sears at 417-847-4589, Beck at 417-342-5813, or drop off donations at the assessor's office.

Sears and Beck said everyone is welcome and invited to attend the event to help Prewitt and her family.

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