Benefits to support student injured in a car accident

Phat Nguyen, News Editor

Sophomore biology major Natalie Smirne and a friend were driving home from a concert in New York on route 84. A routine drive turned for the worse when a deer ran across the highway. The driver swerved to go around it, but it was too late as sudden shift caused the car to flip over.

Although the driver was unscathed, the accident left Smirne paralyzed from the chest down.

After being discharged from the hospital, Smirne found she could not go home. Her house was not equipped for her needs. It was not wheelchair accessible and the doorways where too narrow for her wheel chair.

“My parents are working on it. They got a loan so they could get it remodeled, but that won’t be until after March,” Smirne said.

“Bring Natalie Home” is a series of two benefits being held to raise money for a down stairs bathroom and ramps for her house.

Professional wrestler A.J. Evers, a high school friend of Smirne, is one of the hosts of the other benefit. He wanted to do something for her as soon as he found out what happened.

“It was a really heartbreaking story,” said Evers, a junior business major at King’s College. “I had this wrestling thing going on so I decided to help out an old friend.”

Keystone Wrestling Live features an eight man single elimination tournament to name the first ever Keystone Wrestling champion on Saturday, March 3, 2012 at Grant’s Martial Arts 404 Main Street in Plymouth starting at 7:30p.m.  The event also features the first ever tag-team championship.

While professional wrestling might turn away audiences, Evers said the wrestling is a family friendly event.
“We don’t want the stereotype where we’re an ‘over the top’ offensive group,” he said. “It’s basically PG-13 rated version of Smack Down. Bring your kids.”

The benefits will help with repaying the loans and medical expenses.

In addition to a show, they plan to have concession stand and a 50/50 raffle to benefit Smirne.
Tickets go on sale Wednesday, Feb. 1 and will be available at a number of locations, as well as at the door the day of the show.

General admission tickets are $10 while reserved ringside seating is $12. A.J Evers can be contacted for ticket information at 570-479-0366.

A Keystone Wrestling Live Facebook page has been created for more information.

Kildare’s Irish Pub in Scranton is hosting the other benefit. As of Feb. 26, A benefit for Natalie Smirne’s Facebook page has 360 people attending.

The response has Smirne anxious, but very excited.

“I’m kind of nervous,” Smirne said. “It’s a lot of people. I’m very happy about that.”

Smirne believes the success of this event is due to the efforts of her managers at New York and Co, Tracy Capalongo and Breynne Stanko.

Her managers can be contacted for tickets at Breynne Stanko 570-909-8844 and Tracy Capalongo 570-589-1473.
“If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think this would’ve really happened so quickly,” she said “They’re doing a lot for me. I really appreciate the help.”

“There are a lot of people who are helping and they really don’t need to be, but they are.”