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Bands jam for family of Shepherdstown accident victim

September 15, 2008|By DAVE MCMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.VA. - What happens when tragedy strikes one of the most well-known musical families in town?

The town's musicians reach out with love.

Dozens of people began streaming into the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Shepherdstown Sunday night for a night of music designed to raise money for the family of Mason Ellsworth, who was seriously injured in a July 23 traffic accident on Country Club Road north of Charles Town.

Ellsworth, 18, was about three-quarters of a mile from the intersection with Flowing Springs Road when he lost control of a GMC Blazer and struck a dump truck, police said.

Ellsworth is in a coma and after being treated at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, he was transferred last week to a facility in Malvern, Pa., that specializes in bringing patients out of comas, according to his sister, Melissa Ellsworth.

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At the Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, doctors are leading Mason through daily routines, like getting him into clothes, in an attempt to stimulate his mind and bring him out of the coma, Melissa Ellsworth said.

"It's little tiny steps," she said, adding that doctors will not know until he comes out of the coma how successful his rehabilitation was.

Mason goes through "light" or "deep" cycles in his coma, and during the light cycles, he makes eye contact with others in the room and watches them move around the room, Melissa Ellsworth said.

"It's absolutely fascinating. It gives us hope," she said.

Mason's parents, Brian and Sylvia Ellsworth, were with Mason Sunday night at Bryn Mar Rehab Hospital and there were plans to uplink the hospital with a broadcast of the show so they could watch it, event organizers said.

Local musician Sam Felker said he knew the members of three well-known bands in town, The Speakeasy Boys, the Love Machine and a band in which he used to play-- The I-Steadies -- and began working on a fundraising concert for the Ellsworths to help them pay for Mason's medical expenses.

The event, "Musicians for Mason," kicked off around 7 p.m. with The Speakeasy Boys pumping out their unique, down-home sound for the event.

A banquet room for the event was set up to hold 450 people and Felker said he was hoping to raise $10,000 for the Ellsworth family through $15 ticket sales and other events like a silent auction and raffles.

"The community has pulled together like I've never seen before," said Fran Phillips of Shepherdstown, one of those attending the fundraiser.

Phillips said she has known the Ellsworths since 1999 and remembers Mason when he was a child.

Sylvia Ellsworth runs a catering business in Shepherdstown, but she has been by her son's side since the accident, Phillips said.

Local restaurants took over Sylvia's upcoming catering events while she is with her son, Phillips said.

"I'm just speechless as far as what has happened. I pray for them every day," Phillips said.

Other fundraising events are planned for the family and "Mason Jars" are in businesses around town to collect money for the family, Phillips and other town residents said.

Brian Ellsworth owns the Ellsworth Music Supply & Repair stores in the area and Mason is an accomplished musician on drums, bassoon and guitar, friends and family members said.

"I think this is how the town comes together best. We're really humbled," Melissa Ellsworth said.

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