PORT ANGELES — Suffering severe burns as a child could not stop Barbara Gooding from leading a life of service, said her brother, John Siemion.
Gooding, formerly of Port Angeles, went on to become a nursing supervisor, and has traveled the globe to help those in humanitarian crises.
A serious back injury four years ago was a blow to her mobility and independence, Siemion said. She now is fully reliant on the help of others to function.
To raise money for Gooding’s care, Siemion has organized a benefit concert in Port Angeles.
“Barbara,” who now lives in California, “will likely be present at the event,” Siemion said.
“Should health issues prevent her appearance, she will be there on a live, interactive internet feed.”
This event “will give the public, friends and family an opportunity to show their love and appreciation and to reconnect them with her,” Siemion said.
The folk, country and bluegrass concert will be at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Historic Naval Lodge Elks Building, third Floor Ballroom, 131 E. First St., in Port Angeles.
The musical lineup will feature Port Angeles’ own Luck of the Draw with Dave and Rosalee Secord, Jimmy Lee and Sharla Jo, Sound Dogs with Chuck Grallmand and other special guests.
Entry for those 13 and older is by the donation of $20, with additional donations welcome. Children 12 and younger will be admitted for free.
All of the funds raised will be used for Barbara’s rehabilitation and caregiving needs, much of which is not covered by any medical plan, according to a news release.
In 1955, Barbara’s nightgown caught on fire when she was 4 years old, according to her biography.
With third degree burns over 75 percent of her body, she wasn’t expected to live.
But even at 4, “Barbara was full of spunk and not one to take no for an answer,” Siemion said.
She lived, but the path ahead was painful. She endured dozens of surgeries to reconstruct her face and hands, which were burned worst of all, Siemion said.
She didn’t let the painful injuries prevent her from pursuing a career in the medical field.
Despite being told she could never be a nurse because of her damaged hands, she went on to not only to work in the intensive care unit, but to supervise the nursing staff of the entire hospital, according to her biography.
She also served in the Peace Corps in Kenya, went to Mississippi to help after Hurricane Katrina and hopped on a plane to Indonesia after a tsunami and earthquake there destroyed entire villages.
After retiring from Swedish Hospital in Seattle, she worked as nursing supervisor at Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, where she moved to live near her sister and enjoy her retirement for which she had worked so hard her entire life, Siemion said.
By then she had raised four children and was eagerly awaiting her third grandchild.
About four years ago, Gooding was startled by a spider as she was going to sleep one night, and fell out of bed, Siemion said.
In an instant she was on the floor in the dark, alone and unable to move, barely able to breathe, he said.
The fall had broken her neck and crushed her spinal cord, nearly severing it, he said.
“Once again, she fought to survive,” Siemion said.
“Once again, the path ahead is full of pain and she needs help. The damage to her spinal cord left her paralyzed from the shoulders down, unable to walk, garden or work as a nurse. She is now the one who needs care, 24 hours a day.”
Gooding needs assistance to eat, brush her teeth, get dressed or hold her grandchildren, Siemion said.
“She worked hard her entire life, owned her own house, had health insurance and a good retirement, but it’s not enough to cover the costs of an injury like this,” he said.
“Health insurance, social security and Medicaid don’t cover the costs of her day-to-day care or physical therapy to help her regain movement. But you can help. Every dollar makes a difference in her life. With your help, she can stay in her own home and continue her therapy.”
Those who do not attend Saturday’s concert can still donate by mailing a check payable to Barbara Gooding to: Benefit for Barbara Gooding, 3211 W. McGraw St. #99012, Seattle, WA 98139-0012; or contribute online at https://www.gofundme.com/179gek.
For more information, send an email to benefit [email protected]