DANSVILLE — The community rallied around a young teenage girl who is going for an important surgery next month.
Hannea Milliman,15, of Dansville has suffered from a rare disease called Parsonage Turner Syndrome since she was seven years old. This caused a disconnect from the shoulder and right arm. The Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia are going to do a very extensive surgery that will help Hannea regain strength in her right arm on Aug. 9.
On July 12 some friends, family, and community members came to support and donate to Hannea at the Dansville Hook and Ladder.
Monica Collister orchestrated the event for her friend, Christa Milliman, Hannea’s mother.
“I care a lot about the community, and I like to do a benefit at least once a year,” she said. “It is all about giving back to the community. Christa is my friend, and I wanted to help her and Hannea.”
Collister said that it is important for people in these small communities to help each other out.
“I think it is important to let everyone know there are still some good people in the world,” she said. “I really like making people feel good. I want my kids to grow up knowing how important it is to give back.”
There were many generous donations made to the benefit, and some out-of-towners as well — including the Jim Kelly Family in Buffalo; they donated some Buffalo Bills items.
Collister said that so many young girls look up to Hannea, and that she has made a big impact on their lives.
“She has the biggest heart. She is involved in a lot of activities,” she said. “She helps the little girls out in dance, and so many of them look up to her. One thing you get out of this is that everyone loves Hannea. It is great to let people know when they are going through a tough time that they are loved. I feel like there is so much darkness in the world, and if we can bring a little light at a time we can make it a better place.”
Hannea Milliman said that she is very grateful that everyone came to the event.
“I really love to dance, and it makes me very happy. It is a place to escape to,” she said. “I want to have my own dance studio in the city someday with a lot of people.”
Milliman is nervous about the big day, and the closer she gets to the surgery the harder it is.
“I plan on hanging out with friends and family as much as I can before the surgery,” she said. “I want to thank everyone who came out to support me. It really helps a lot when people come out to support me.”
Milliman said that when she was diagnosed everyone took it really hard, but she never let it get her down.
“I didn’t cry or let it get me down. I got into dancing and cheerleading,” she said. “I went right back to my life.”
Milliman added that once she recovers from the surgery it will take a lot of getting used to.
“My shoulder has been dislocated for so long it is going to be a big adjustment,” she said. “I can’t grip with my right hand at all, so I trained myself to use my left hand. I will need to work my muscles back in my right hand.”
Christa Milliman said that the benefit really meant a lot to her and her daughter.
“People from other dance studios are coming to support Hannea,” she said. “Everyone has been very supportive; classmates, teachers, strangers, and family.”
Milliman said that Hannea has always been big on supporting others with disabilities.
“She has grown into an amazing young lady,” she said. “It is beautiful to see the girls from Avon Dance Studio standing beside her. They have performed and competed together for a long time.”
The whole community has really been behind Hannea when it comes to this surgery, Milliman said.
Collister plans on making a Go Fund Me Page for Hannea as well for all the expenses.