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Women’s networking group hosts fundraiser for member’s brain surgery

T-shirts featuring this design by Jennifer Lake will be for sale tonight at a fundraiser to help Lake pay for her upcoming surgery.

T-shirts featuring this design by Jennifer Lake will be for sale tonight at a fundraiser to help Lake pay for her upcoming surgery.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A group of local professionals who met through a women’s networking organization are now getting together for something more personal.

Members of the FemCity ABQ networking group have joined forces for a fundraiser  today to help one of their members, Jennifer Lake, raise money for surgery to help treat her Chiari Malformation — the herniation of the cerebellum — and the associated cranio-cervical instability.

Lake, a University of New Mexico MBA student who also owns her own photography and design company (Sunlight and Air), is scheduled to undergo 10 hours of surgery at The Chiari Institute in Great Neck, N.Y., on July 23.

Women from FemCity ABQ have organized a fundraiser today, July 8,  from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Napoli Coffee, 2839 Carlisle NE.

Dubbed “A Hodgepodge of Help,” it will feature live music, drinks, hors d’oeuvres, T-shirt and jewelry sales, and a silent auction. Donations will be accepted at the door.

Lake said she’s been in Albuquerque just 15 months but has been embraced by this group she now calls her “tribe.”

“Most people would look at brain surgery with apprehension, but for me it has been an incredible blessing — medically, of course — but more so because it gave me the opportunity to be lifted up by this incredible community,” she said via email.

While she does have health insurance, she anticipates she’ll still have at least a $10,000 bill because the surgeon is out of her provider network.

She said she hopes her story — which involved multiple out-of-state trips to visit various experts — will ultimately help create awareness of Chiari Malformation, which isn’t well-known despite the number of people it affects.

Local businesswomen taking part in the fundraiser include Elizabeth Robertson (Napoli Coffee), Dara Ambriz and Lori Medik (Runway Apparel), Carrie Mettling (Rebel Donut), Tiffany Ficklin (Bravo Alpha Events), stylist Maralyn Beck (Stella and Dot) and Kristi Lawrence (StarFire PR & Marketing).

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