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Chance Meeting Spawns Fundraiser for Girl With Leukemia

After seeing 9-year-old Julia Wilson at a local salon getting her head shaved, Michele Culley has organized a fundraiser to help pay for a bone marrow transplant.

Chance Meeting Spawns Fundraiser for Girl With Leukemia
"It's just one of those gut-wrenching things, especially when you have kids at home around the same age, that makes you wonder," said Michele Culley. "And makes you want to help."

It's a feeling many people have had before: whether it's related to kids, adults, loved ones, or sometimes even a stranger – that feeling where helping just seems like the right thing to do.

So Culley, a Sound Beach resident who describes herself as "just a high school math teacher," is helping out.

While getting her hair cut one day in June at Anthony Scott Salon in Sound Beach, Culley just so happened to see Julia Wilson – a 9-year-old girl who was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago – walk in and get her head shaved. After Wilson's blood cancer had gone into remission, Culley said, it had returned, and "you could tell it was pretty traumatic to her. Everyone was holding back tears."

After speaking with Wilson's dad, Culley found out that the girl is due to have a bone marrow transplant, and to help pay the family's medical bills, Culley has teamed up with Shaolin King Fu Studios owner Ed Turney to hold a fundraiser at the end of the month.

Held on Sunday, Aug. 25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Shaolin Studios on Route 25A in Rocky Point, the fundraiser will feature Eastern healing processes, from yoga to Chinese messages to acupuncture and more.

She has organized the event – named 'Just for Julia' – with other parents from the studio, all of whose kids are ready and willing to help out at the fundraiser.

Culley's son has been taking lessons at the studio for two years, she said, and Turney has "taught the children that strong individuals help themselves, and help other people."

A donation of $20 is suggested at the event. For more information, individuals can call the studio at 821-4812 or Culley at 209-9109.

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