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Benefits for 4th grader recovering from brain surgery

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Benefits for 4th grader recovering from brain surgery

Colony Oak Elementary School fourth grader and active soccer player Riley Simmons, 9, is seen in happier days prior to her brain surgery on Dec. 4

Photo contributed/

POSTED December 19, 2012 12:44 a.m.

RIPON - Tonight is “Riley’s Night” in Ripon.

A fundraiser from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Canal Street Grill will help 9-year-old Riley Simmons’ family with expenses related to her brain surgery on Dec. 4 at the University of California San Francisco Hospital.

It isn’t the first benefit.

On Monday, twin girls from Riley Simmons’ fourth grade class at Colony Oak Elementary School sold mistletoe in front of the Ripon Save Mart collecting more than $1,000 in just three hours.

The class and their teacher Jacquelyn Fraser created a large cartoon Christmas card for Riley with the outside of their classroom as the backdrop.  Students and their teacher, are all dressed as Santa’s elves and helpers on the 2-inch by two-foot card.

Mistletoe will also be sold again on Friday evening and on Saturday from noon until 6 p.m. in front of the Ripon Save Mart.  Gift-wrapping services in Riley’s name are set for Thursday, Friday and Saturday in an empty suite adjacent to Schemper’s ACE Hardware Store in the 100 block of North Wilma Avenue.

Tonight’s wine and hors d’ouvres fundraising reception and silent auction takes place at the Canal Street Grill just off Highway 99 on Canal Street, east of Jack Tone Road.

Ability Mortgage is providing the finger foods and McManus Winery is taking care of the wine selections.  Those attending the fundraiser are asked to bring their own items to be auctioned off. In turn they can bid on others’ treasures being put on the silent auction block.

A Christmas quilt made by Colony Oak teacher Sherie Huff will be raffled off as well.  It is one of hundreds the teacher has created. It was one she said she never planned on selling or giving away, keeping it for herself because of its beauty. She changed her mind in favor of the fourth grader.  Tickets are $10 each and the drawing will take place on Friday.

 Jessica Coleman, who is helping with the fundraising efforts, said an anonymous donor offered $1,000 to go to the Simmons family if just one other grandparent in the community would match her donation.

Within four days of the creation of a bank account for Riley at the balance grew to more than $8,000. As of Tuesday it had swelled to almost $12,000.  A benefit soccer tournament is being planned next month by soccer coach Manuel Pierce with teams paying $100 to $125 in entry fees.

 The growth on her brain manifested itself in her losing balance on the soccer field at an indoor game.  She was reportedly taken to a doctor who thought it might be hypertension.  Then an eye doctor spotted a swelling of the optic nerve that led to an immediate MRI in a Stockton hospital where a growth being discovered on the brain.

Riley was taken by ambulance to the University of California San Francisco Hospital where surgery was performed two weeks ago.  Her dad Rick was quoted as saying that the entire tumor was removed but it has affected her eye movement, speech and balance – all of which are expected to return to her within days, weeks or possibly months.

There are nearly 50 people volunteering to help with the fundraising effort.

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