Benefit planned for Mazzarisi

Blow to the head leads to rare medical condition

ROCHELLE — Friends of Shannon Coy Mazzarisi are planning a benefit on her behalf following an incident that left the Rochelle resident with several complications including involuntary movement in her extremities, difficulty walking, speech issues and vertigo.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, March 16 at the Dixon Elks Lodge located at 1279 Franklin Grove Road in Dixon. Dinner is from 5 to 7 p.m. with a choice of corned beef and cabbage or ham. Tickets for dinner and entertainment can be purchased for $25 at the Fit Hub in Rochelle or at several locations in Dixon: Law office of Paul Whitcombe; Val’s Bar; Elks Lodge; and by messaging TJ Abell or Mike Cruse through Facebook.

Tickets for entertainment only are priced at $15. Entertainment includes a DJ, Mandy Lance and Matt Fichter, Bloody Gulch and The Merkins.

There will also be a 50/50 raffle and a live auction with big ticket items and gift baskets.

Mazzarisi, a Dixon native, explained she was at a celebration of life ceremony at a tavern in her hometown in January when an argument escalated into what is now being called a violent crime.

“Two men got into an argument and one of them threw a pool ball at the other one,” she explained. “It hit me in the back of the head. I was never the intended target. I never lost consciousness.”

Mazzarisi, who now speaks with an accent, remains upbeat and positive considering the circumstances surrounding the incident have left her unable to drive and work for an indefinite amount of time.

Numerous medical tests and scans conducted after the incident all came back negative. Just recently a specialist in Peoria diagnosed her with an extremely rare condition.

“At first the doctors told me I only had a concussion and I would be fine,” she added. “I don’t have any fractures or brain bleed but now my speech has been altered, I have difficulty walking on my own and I have these uncontrolled movements. Now I am searching for a doctor who knows what is going on and can help me.”

She is waiting to be seen by doctors at Mayo Clinic or another similar type of facility in Kentucky.

Jen Niedermeier has been friends with Mazzarisi for over 20 years and is a singer of one of the bands slated for the event. All of the entertainment for the evening is donating their time; the funds, aside for the dinner costs, are all going directly to Mazzarisi for assistance with medical bills and day-to-day expenses.

Niedermeier is also part of the close group of friends organizing the event and helping wherever she can.

“Shannon is always the first one there for anything, helping everybody. She is always involved and now it’s time for her to be on the receiving end. She is part of my family,” Niedermeier said. “And that accent she has? She never had that before … it sounds Russian.”

Mazzarisi, without missing a beat, added a close friend who lives in Russia recognized her newfound accent during a phone conversation.

“My friend told me I would fit in well over there, and that I should come visit,” she joked.

All things aside, Mazzarisi is grateful for the support from friends, family and the community.

“Thank you,” she added. “Everything has been so overwhelming already. People have been amazing and I appreciate that.”

Locally in Rochelle, the Fit Hub on Lincoln Highway has tickets available for the event and is also a drop off location for anyone wishing to donate items for the auction.

An account has been set up at Midland Bank in Dixon for those wishing to make monetary donations directly to Mazzarisi.

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