By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — Friends and family of Sarah DeLong hope to raise the Derry woman’s spirits and help support her family while she struggles with her health.
“An Evening with the DeLongs” is set for June 8 from 3 to 9 p.m. at the Derry-Salem Elks Lodge, 29 Shadow Lake, Salem. The night will raise money to support Sarah DeLong and her family.
Earlier this year, the mother of three was diagnosed with neuromyelitis optima, or NMO. Often misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis, the disease is an autoimmune disorder attaching the spinal cord and optic nerve.
Over time, vision loss and paralysis can occur.
In DeLong’s case, it’s living with crippling pain in her hands and legs, and a lot of exhaustion.
DeLong was instrumental in forming Derry’s MOMS Club and for several years has supported the March of Dimes by raising money for fundraising walks and other activities.
It’s now time to pay back and help, friends say.
Gregory Hart said his friend is facing her health crisis in a positive way and with a lot of courage. She is living life to the fullest, he said, and wants to continue to be the best mother she can.
Hart has known the DeLongs since elementary school. He and other friends are organizing the event to support the family.
“Sarah is determined not to let this disease slow her down,” he said.
He said the Derry mother has good days and bad. Some days, the medication works well and she can function normally. Other times, it’s difficult to even walk or control her hands.
Hart said both DeLong and her husband, Rich, are the type of people who would do anything for anyone. Now, he said, it’s time to give back.
The upcoming benefit will help raise money to support the DeLong family as they deal with this disease and mounting medical expenses. The family’s health insurance has limited coverage.
The day includes food, games, and other activities to join friends, neighbors and families together to support this family.
Tickets are available at the door or by visiting eveningforthedelongs.eventbrite.com.