Community rallies, raises $40K for quadruple amputee

May 15, 2018, 6:56 AM

SPRINGVILLE, Utah — Friends, neighbors and others gathered in large numbers Monday night and raised roughly $40,000 for a mother of six who had her four limbs amputated following severe complications to a cold.

Tiffany Fonohema — who had already been facing a heap of medical bills — needed $225,000 for prosthetics, according to Elizabeth Bird, a friend who organized the fundraiser held at Strap Tank Brewing Co.

“She’s got the strongest spirit, warrior spirit that I’ve ever met, and if anyone deserves all this — it’s her,” Bird said.

Bird said between a silent auction, numerous donations and a sizeable match from the owner of the brewery, the event raised approximately $40,000 to help Fonohema.

“Everyone loves her,” said Tina Hansen, another friend. “She has so much support, so many people in the community who love her.”

Bird said many complete strangers contributed to the cause.

“Two people walked up and said, ‘are you doing a fundraiser,’ and handed cash!” she exclaimed.

Bird said Fonohema had a weakened immune system due to a drug she had been taking to help with a ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis that impacts the spine and large joints.

A cold developed into pneumonia that left Fonohema hospitalized, and during that monthlong hospitalization she contracted sepsis, Bird said.

Fonohema’s GoFundMe page said she was given Levophed to help regulate her blood pressure and combat the life-threatening infection, but the treatment shunted the blood away from her extremities.

The woman ultimately had both arms and both legs amputated.

Bird said Fonohema had planned to be in attendance at Monday night’s fundraiser, but she was ultimately too ill.

She said she was grateful for all those who showed up to help her friend, and she hoped others would appreciate their loved ones around them.

“Hug your loved ones, be a good friend, be a good neighbor and just be kind,” Bird said.

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Community rallies, raises $40K for quadruple amputee