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WEMA employees start fund to help long-time coworker

Jacob Smith • Nov 8, 2017 at 4:23 PM

Lora Wilke, an emergency management technician with the Wilson County Emergency Management Agency, started a GoFundMe page for WEMA firefighter Mark Harrington, whose family has faced extreme health issues in the last two years.

Harrington’s 7-year-old son, Neyland, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in October 2016. He spent seven days in the intensive care unit at Centennial Hospital and has since struggled to control his blood sugar levels.

Harrington and his wife, Dana, worked with Neyland’s doctor to get him approved for an insulin pump through an insurance company. They weren’t able to get the pump they wanted, but got what they considered to be the next best thing. The out-of-pocket cost for this pump was a bit more than $1,000.

In May, Dana Harrington was diagnosed with breast cancer and received treatment ever since, however, doctors currently think she may have an infection from the treatments.

She is still in testing to find the exact cause of the additional problems she is having, and the family is currently in talks with a surgeon regarding a mastectomy in the near future.

The family has no cancer policies and only has Mark Harrington’s employment insurance to fall back on. After deductibles are met, the insurance gives a 70-percent discount, leaving 30 percent to be paid out of pocket.

Dana Harrington is currently unable to work, and Mark Harrington has used his sick time at the fire department to help his wife, which prompted Wilke to start the fundraiser for the family.

“The first sentence of what I’ve got on that GoFundMe page is ‘one of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know that they are not alone,’” said Wilke. “That’s really what I see this standing by, you know, we’re trying to make sure that they know that they are not alone and they can depend on other people to help them during this time, because that’s what we should do.”

The GoFundMe page started by Wilke can be found at gofundme.com/support-neyland-and-dana-harrington. They are trying to raise $20,000 to help cover the price of the insulin pump, as well as Dana treatments. 

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