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Bethany’s Buddies say ‘thanks’

A sign attached to a barricade blocking Quincy Street next to New Jerusalem Christian Center said it all.

“Bethany’s Buddies say: Thank You! $35,000 + raised. We did it!”

On Saturday, the committee whose goal it was to raise funds for the 17-year-old Ironton High School student in need of a double-lung transplant celebrated its success with the community that helped raise more than $37,000.

Bethany was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was 3 years old. Though the money has been raised, she is still awaiting the lung transplant.

The party was both a way for Bethany’s Buddies to say thank you, and a birthday party for Bethany, who turned 17 on May 9.

Having been admitted to the hospital, Bethany couldn’t be there but listened on her parents’ cell phone.

“It’s awesome,” Bethany said over the phone from her hospital bed. “I wish I was there. It’s awesome what they did.”

The girl’s mother and father agreed.

“This is so awesome,” Elizabeth Bibb said. “Everyone has been so great. I just wish she could be here. She would have enjoyed it.”

“We’re truly blessed,” Bethany’s father, Jerry Bibb said.

Music sounded from speakers set up at the church. Children played on inflatables set up between the church and its fellowship hall. BC Tool & Party Rentals provided the inflatables. Business owner Bob Cleary said it was a way of helping out.

“We wanted to jump in and help and the kids always enjoy the inflatables,” Cleary said.

The roar of motorcycle engines could be heard all over as members of the American Legion Post 433 rode up to the party. The local chapter of the veteran’s organization raised money for Bethany’s Buddies and encourages other chapters to as well.

“It was one of our kids in town needing help and that’s what we do,” Frank Murphy, post commander of the Legion, said.

A proclamation from Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship declared Saturday Bethany Bibb Day in the city.

Bethany’s classmates, members of the Ironton High School Singers, sang several songs serenading the crowd that gathered.

Robert Pleasant, who helped raise money for the Bethany’s Buddies, commended the community for the way it came together to help Bethany.

“It’s awesome,” Pleasant said. “One of the things I’m so proud of is the way the community rallied around Bethany and her family.

“It wasn’t just a group of people, it was the whole community and that makes me feel really good.”

Pleasant said Bethany’s Buddies wanted the block party to be fun, a celebration.

“Thank you to the community for the support,” Pleasant said. “It’s been a blessing to this community, and most of all, to the family.”