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Fundraiser to support 5-year-old girl

Jun. 07, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

By BONNY RUSHBROOK

TEAYS VALLEY -- If you enjoy gospel music and are free on Saturday evening, you might want to drive down to the Teays Valley Church of the Nazarene located at 3937 Teays Valley Road beside Chapman Funeral Home. By doing so, you will not only hear some great music, but you can also help a little girl in her recovery from a terrible accident.

On April 3, Savanna Charlii Laing, age 5, of Maryland, was mauled by two pit bulls while visiting a nearby home. Savanna is the daughter of Randall Laing, granddaughter of Carlette Laing and the great-granddaughter of former Charleston police officer and CPD spokesperson Ivin Lee of Teays Valley.

Savanna was unconscious when found and flown to The National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where she underwent 11 hours of surgery to repair nerve damage to the right side of her face. She also lost both ears. The dogs were put down.

"They weren't sure she was going to make it," Lee said. "I stayed up all night long -- I was a nervous wreck waiting to hear about her condition," she added.

Today, after two months, Savanna still cannot put her lips together, and cannot blink her right eye. Physicians have told the family it will take eight months to determine whether the earlier surgery was successful because nerves grow slowly. Further surgery will have to wait. A psychologist is also part of her recovery, who has said she is coming along well. Still, she will have to go through extensive reconstructive surgery and psychological therapy over the next months and years.

"It will take a long time for her to recover," Lee said.

Although the family has medical insurance, friends of Lee wanted to help pay expenses not covered by insurance. At 5 p.m., Saturday, June 8, a gospel sing will take place at the Teays Valley Church of the Nazarene, 3937 Teays Valley Road beside of Chapman Funeral Home.

Singers include the "Vandalia Men's Chorus" of Charleston, "Men of the Cross" from Huntington, and "Walter Pannell" of Cross Lanes, among others.

Anyone who can't attend, but would like to donate, can do so at this website: www.gofundme.com.

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