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Local Fundraiser Hopes to Bring Joy to Family Celebrating Last Christmas

A spaghetti dinner fundraiser will be held for the Ashinger family on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at the American Spirit Center in Brighton.

A local family that has always been ready to help others in the past is now the recipient of kidness from friends and family coming together to help support them. 

A spaghetti dinner fundraiser for the Ashinger family has special meaning this time of year since it may be the last Christmas Russ Ashinger, husband and father of two, may be able to spend with his family.

Last March, Ashinger, was diagnosed with three types of cancer in his liver, lungs and perineum. After undergoing aggressive treatments of chemotherapy, the family was told in November that Ashinger had four to six months to live.

“They were told the treatment wasn’t working,” family friend Dawn Turner said. “They said, however, they could try chemo again to see if they could add a couple more months on but they (family) still haven’t decided.”

Turner, whose family owns two 7-Elevens in Livingston County, is organizing a spaghetti fundraiser for the family to help pay for medical bills and living expenses since the family has been living on one income since the diagnosis.

“She’s (Tami Ashinger) having a hard time accepting all the help,” Turner said. “It’s very hard for her because she’s always been a giver.”

Not wanting to be labeled as a “charity case” Turner says Tami Ashinger has been the only source of income for their family since March and remains "very proud" and rarely asks anyone for help. But because of the loss of income and rising medical bills, the family lost their home of 20 years and are now living with Tami Ashinger's parents in Brighton. 

"It’s a lot for Tami to have on her plate, but she’s so strong," Turner said. “This (fundraiser) is my way of saying I love you and I care and I’m going help you and I’m going to try to make it better."

With one daughter in college and the other a sophomore at Hartland High School, supporters of the family are hoping to raise enough money to help relieve some of the financial burden and help make the next few months as special as the can for the family.

“And just to have a great last Christmas,” Turner said. “Because really this is his last Christmas unless a miracle is to happen.”

The fundraiser will take place on Tuesday, December 11 at the American Spirit Center in Brighton from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Cost of the fundraiser is $10 per adult and $5 per child. There will also be a silent auction, 50/50 raffle and cash bar. Santa will also be available with treats for the children.

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