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Medics come to the rescue for their own

December 26, 1997

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer

WILLIAMSPORT - This year has been a particularly tough one for the Williamsport Volunteer Ambulance Service following news that children of two of its members were diagnosed with serious illnesses.

Thirteen-year-old Sarah Roseberry, daughter of volunteer Teresa Roseberry, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in September. Six-year-old Jacob Wentz, son of medic George Wentz, was diagnosed with leukemia in late October, officials said.

Making matters worse is that Roseberry and Wentz do not have health insurance to cover the expenses.

But the Williamsport ambulance service is battling back, putting together a fund to pay for the costs.

Ruth Bump, the department's administrator, said the effort is important, considering Roseberry's and Wentz's contribution to the community.

"We need to pay these people back. We need to help them," said Bump.

And the department plans to carry its charity further. There are a lot of part-time medics in the county that cannot get health insurance and the department plans to make the Emergency Services Children's Benefit Fund available to any emergency workers who find themselves in the same situation, Bump said.

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Sarah Roseberry's brain tumor was wrapped around her brain stem and it was impossible to remove it without causing her neurological damage, her mother said.

Part of Sarah's face is paralyzed and her right eye is turned toward the center of her face, causing her to have double-vision, her mother said.

Sarah will be required to wear special "prism lens" glasses to help her see, her mother said.

"They go through a lot, emotionally and physically," said Teresa Roseberry.

Sarah, who is being treated at Kennedy Kreeger Institute in Baltimore, will need months of chemotherapy and physical therapy. Jacob Wentz, who is being treated at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, will need chemotherapy three times a week for three years, officials said.

Although it is not known what the total expenses for the two children will be, they are expected to run into the millions of dollars, Bump said.

Roseberry was working for County Medical, a private ambulance service in Washington County. She said she did not have medical insurance because she had not worked for the company long enough.

Williamsport ambulance officials have raised about $3,500 through collections and food sales. They are planning a dinner dance Jan. 23 at the Red Men Lodge 84 in Williamsport to raise money for the fund, Bump said.

Donations to The Emergency Services Children's Benefit Fund can also be sent to P.O. Box 234, Williamsport 21795.

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