20140806 so donna smithers

About a dozen shops in town have been scrambling this year to find help with sewing after Donna Smithers got sick.

On Saturday friends are hosting a spaghetti dinner benefit to help her and her husband, Bill Smithers, pay for medical bills associated with brain cancer treatment.

The event starts at 6:30 p.m. at Elks Lodge No. 1713. Businesses have donated dozens of items for a silent auction. Live music also is on the agenda. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $5 for kids.

Smithers owned Donna’s Alterations for about 24 years in Jackson, her husband said, sewing for individuals and businesses, including Overland Outfitters, Jackson Hole Snowmobile Tours, Jackson Hole Whitewater, Mad River and Orvis.

A year ago Smithers was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive brain tumor that is woven around the brain. Doctors operated in September 2003 and removed as much of the tumor as they could, her husband said.

“It’s stage 4, and you can’t get it all,” Bill Smithers said. His wife underwent two months of chemotherapy, “then you sit and wait to see how long it takes for it to start growing back again.”

By April, Smithers went to live at St. John’s Living Center so she could receive round-the-clock care. She’s not able to communicate well, her husband said.

Money raised at the benefit will help the couple pay medical bills they’ve accumulated. There’s also a fund set up at Wells Fargo Bank for any donations people wish to make.

“I’m overwhelmed by the response of people wanting to help,” Bill Smithers said. “It’s tremendous.”

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