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Speed dating for a good cause

Salon's event to benefit disabled teen needs more men involved
by: Carole Archer, Leslie Lewis, manager of Ain’t Ms-B-haven hair salon in Gresham, will be speed dating Saturday, Sept. 30, at Winks Sport Bar and Restaurant to help a disabled teen.

The irony is that those wild women at the Ain't Ms-B-Haven hair salon are hosting a Saturday night speed-dating event to help a child who doesn't get around very much at all.

Speed dating. You talk to someone for five minutes and then move on. A painless way to meet and greet. The charity gathering at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at Winks Sport Bar and Restaurant, 3240 S. Troutdale Road, will help a child who needs a lift van. How simple can it be?

'But we're having a hard time finding guys,' griped Leslie Lewis, manager of the salon at 1121 N.E. Division St. in Gresham.

'It's not like you going to get married or something,' says Annette McGahey.

'Yeah,' adds Leslie, who looks like Reba McIntire and will take part in the event. 'You don't need to bring a diamond (ring) or anything. Just come and have fun.'

To make the event work, they would

like to have 30 guys and 30 gals paying registration fees of $20 each. That would earn $1,200 toward the purchase of a used van for a paralyzed 12-year-old. Add to that the $600 made in a Sept. 23 car wash, and the women will have a tenth of the $20,000 they need for wheels for Wryliegh Hillebrecht.

You hear about things at the beauty shop. People talk. Massage therapist Julie Voetberg brought the story of Wryliegh to the others.

The Parkrose Middle School student suffered a stroke to her spinal cord a week before her birth. Totally paralyzed, she requires a ventilator for life support and 24-hour care.

'Doctors gave us three options,' remembers Kari Hillebrecht in the days following her daughter's birth, March 1, 1994. 'They said we could place her somewhere because this could destroy our family. They talked of pulling her life support, her ventilator. Or they said we could take her home for her 2 to 2 1/2 year life span. So - she's 12.'

Julie Voetberg and Kari Hillebrecht have been friends for years. Kari and Michael Hillebrecht, their family still intact, have three children. An older son is away at school. Mac, 15, is at home. Kari is her daughter's caregiver. They manage, but their mini-van is no longer adequate for a 100-pound child with a 300-pound wheelchair. And neither is Kari.

Julie has watched life get more difficult for her friend as Wryliegh grows. A bus provides transportation to school, but to go anywhere else, Kari must lift her daughter and a ventilator into the back seat of the van, then push the chair in the back where it sits, unsecured, for the ride.

'We're not able to hop in the car,' Kari says. 'It's not safe not having tie-downs. We can't go on vacation as a family. It's a humbling situation. She needs a normal life, as much normal as one can get.'

'I thought about this a year ago,' says Voetberg, 'about trying to get Wryliegh some help and make life easier for Kari.'

This is not the first time that the women in the shop have taken on a cause. Ain't Ms-B-Haven's core group came from an earlier shop, All About You, on Hood Avenue. Shortly after U.S. troops went to Bosnia in 1995, the crew at All About You learned of an orphanage full of children who would have no Christmas.

'We got the word out and that fund-raiser just exploded,' remembers Walker. 'We did it once, we can do it again.'

BOX ME

In addition to Saturday night's speed-dating event (to register telephone 503-674-0052) the salon is sponsoring the following activities:

• 2007 Entertainment Books, sold for $30 each, at the salon, 1121 N.E. Division St..

• An evening at Persimmon County Club from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, 500 S.E. Butler Road. An evening of live entertainment with Bill Rhoades, with hors d'oeuvres and no-host bar and will include a singles auction (candidates will put together a date package and auction themselves), silent auction and raffle for $35 a person.

• Donations for Wheels for Wryliegh, under the name Wryliegh Hillebrecht, can be made at the salon or at any US Bank location.