Payson resident Amy von Somogyi has spent her entire life helping others in need. Now, she's the one who needs help.
Von Somogyi, 42, was recently diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. She is currently in a Phoenix hospital undergoing six weeks of chemotherapy, which will have to be repeated several more times.
"Everybody who meets this funny, giving, caring woman considers her a friend," Kris Ladau said. Ladau and Su Connell, director of the Rim Country Literacy Program, have organized a group of friends to raise funds to help cover the extensive cost of her medical care.
As a volunteer for the literacy program, von Somogyi taught English as a Second Language. But she has also became one of the program's primary advocates.
Von Somogyi also was an advocate for the ducks and geese of Green Valley Park, waging a campaign to protect them that earned her the nickname "The Duck Lady." By the time she turned her attention to literacy, she had managed to get the speed limit reduced to 15 mph on Country Club Drive, set up a program whereby injured ducks and geese receive prompt medical care, and initiated an adopt-a-duck program through which excess waterfowl would be placed with locals who could care for them.
The first fund-raising event is a bake sale and raffle at Safeway from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 15. Contributions also can be made directly into a Stockmen's Bank account established for that purpose (No. 2703006045).
For more information, call Ladau at (928) 468-8208, or Connell at (928) 468-7257.