Scaring up some donations for worthy causes

A Seymour couple who operated a huge Halloween light and projection display at their home and raised money for a Medora animal rescue shelter in October 2020 have returned despite a move to a new home.

After helping Red Sky Rescue a year ago, Regan and Carrie Rigsby turned their attention to a couple of other worthwhile causes: SOS-Saints on Our Side Animal Rescue in Brownstown and a new wheel wheelchair for 10-year-old Kaly Hudson of Seymour.

Regan loves Halloween and loves helping others, so what better way to have a fundraiser than combining the two?

​Regan said he sets up the yard decorations himself, and his wife provides moral support. This year, however, she chose one of the new witch animatronics, which is now up and running.

“I had to rebuild a lot of stuff this year because we moved from Meadowlark Drive East ​to 2720 Falcon Court,” Regan said.

Falcon Court is just south of Jackson County Custom Processing on the city’s far west side. Driving west from the city, turn left​ onto Sterling Road. Then​ after about one-third mile, turn right onto Falcon Court.

“There are two subdivisions out there, and we’re in the first one,” Regan said.

He said ​a few people helped him with this year’s Halloween display in various capacities, and he wants to especially thank Shawn Malone of The Brooklyn Pizza Co. and Dave Eggers at Small-Town Glass Co. in Seymour.

“We have some of the same things from last year but have added a few new things, like the witch display, roof lights and a few new accents. Then we have 2,500 lights and 11 projectors,” Regan said.

​Spookieville 2021 is now up and running Wednesday through Saturday evenings from 8:30 p.m. or about a half-hour after dark to midnight, weather-permitting, until Nov. 6. However, the fundraiser boxes will be set up all of the time and emptied each night until the conclusion of the display the weekend after Halloween.

“This year, we have two fundraising boxes, one for Saints on Our Side Animal Rescue, which is run by Chad Keithley’s mother, and the other is for Kaly Hudson and she has spinal muscular atrophy,” Regan said. “Kaly has outgrown her old powered electric wheelchair and insurance won’t pay for all the features she needs for her new wheelchair, ​and the family is around $6,000 short of what they need.”

SMA is a genetic disease affecting the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system and voluntary muscle movement (skeletal muscle). Kaly is the granddaughter of an old friend of Rigsby, Marshall Hudson, and his wife, Jerasu Hudson.

​The display box ​in the Rigsbys’ yard ​is split​ so people will know which cause they are donating to.

Jerasu Hudson said things have changed a lot since Kaly was born with her genetic disease, and there are more medications for those born with SMA today.

“There are different types of the disease, starting at type zero, and they usually don’t make it very long at all. Then there’s type one, where they can’t talk or sit up, but mentally, they are perfect,” Hudson said. “Kaly is type two, where they can sit and there’s no walking, they are very weak and can’t really hold heavy things and it affects all of the muscles, like their neck, heart, respiratory and all of the muscles. Type three is they can possibly do some walking, and type four is when you are diagnosed as an adult and then you digress because it’s a deterioration of the muscles.”

She said today, there are medications to help with the disease at a very young age, but those weren’t available when Kaly was born, so you can’t go back and change anything and she has to take treatments and do exercises for her lungs.

Five years ago, Kaly obtained her first power chair and everything was covered by insurance. She is eligible for another one every five years, and her legs are too long for the one she has now, which contracts her muscles even more, and her head rest is getting too short for her, Hudson said.

“Some things on the chair are covered, but there are some functions she needs that are not covered, like her chair goes up and down and leans back, but she can’t stretch her legs out, and she’s in the same position all the time,” Jerasu said.

Kaly needs a chair that will allow her to stretch more because her legs and hips have contracted a lot due to her current chair not having the functions she needs. The new chair can’t fix that, but it can help keep the problem from getting worse.

“The other thing insurance is not covering is a function where she could lean forward to get things, and she’s at the age where she wants to do more things for herself,” Hudson said. “Those are the two things insurance won’t cover, and they won’t build the chair until we pay for that part, so we are extremely happy and thankful for Regan’s fundraiser.”

Hudson was working at Seymour-Jackson Elementary School until the COVID-19 pandemic started, and they held her job for her for about a year while she stayed home with Kaly.

“I was looking for a remote job, then found out I could actually be Kaly’s caregiver because I wasn’t allowing a nurse to come in during that time,” she said. “We don’t get out much, and my husband is a technician at Silgan Plastics.”

Hudson started working for Elder’s Journey in Columbus in April as an aide and caretaker for Kaly. Kaly is now enrolled in Seymour’s OWL Tech, which has been really great, she said.

Besides donating to Kaly’s fundraiser at the Rigsbys’ home, those wanting to contribute also may contact Jerasu Jaynes Hudson on Facebook or get in touch with Everyday Connections to make a tax-deductible donation on Facebook, call 812-767-4934 or email [email protected]

The other fundraiser is SOS-Saints on Our Side Animal Rescue, operated by Linda Jackson with help from her family.

“Currently, we have over 20 cats and around eight dogs here and two in foster care, and I have a trailer that used to be on a semi, which has a furnace and an air conditioner, and we’ve redone the inside,” Jackson said. “The trailer is for the cats, mostly elderly ones, and they free roam there. We also have outdoor cages with doggy doors for the dogs.”

Jackson has no outside help or volunteers, and it’s generally her taking care of all of the animals, she said.

“SOS became a nonprofit 501(c)(3) dog and cat rescue in 2017 when I applied for that status because it was getting too expensive,” she said. “I’m on Social Security, so I pay for this out of my own pocket. Right now, I’m full here and can’t take anymore dogs or cats at the moment.”

The public can drop donation for SOS at the Rigsby home this month or go to the SOS-Saints on Our Side Animal Rescue Facebook page on the PayPal link or private message Jackson.

“Tangible gifts are welcome, too, and we take both dry and canned cat food, dog food, kitty litter, bleach, Dawn liquid and just about anything, and it’s all appreciated,” she said. “Because of the senior cats, I need Purina gentle dry cat food.”

Jackson doesn’t ask for help very often, such as a dog she recently took in that had cancer in its leg and unless the leg was amputated the dog would not have made it, so she paid the $2,000 for the surgery, except for $100 someone donated.

“Regan knew my son, Chad Keithley, who owns Brewskies, and told him he loved animals,” Jackson said. “So Chad told him about me, and Regan was looking for a local animal shelter to raise funds for this month at his Halloween display, and I’m so thankful to him for that.”