Chamber sponsors fundraiser for Lyle Bullinger

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Cheryl Schweizer/Columbia Basin Herald Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce manager Debbie Doran-Martinez (right) shows one of the auction items to interested bidders at the Chamber’s Friday fundraiser for Lyle Bullinger.

MOSES LAKE — Friends, family and Moses Lake Chamber of Commerce members filled the Elks Lodge No. 1930 Friday night to raise money for a Moses Lake man who became seriously ill while on a trip to Ireland.

Lyle Bullinger got so sick he remains hospitalized in Ireland. Family members are providing updates via the family’s GoFundMe account, and as of Sunday, Bullinger is conscious and able to move around the hospital room. It’s a story of survival; Bullinger suffered from pancreatitis and side effects, and has required multiple surgeries. He is hospitalized in Derry, Northern Ireland.

Bullinger is slated to undergo additional surgical procedures to drain fluids from the site of his infection, according to family members. If the first phase is successful, Bullinger will be transported to a Belfast hospital for the second phase.

But even when he’s ready to travel, getting back home is going to require special medical help. Bullinger’s insurance is covering about half the cost, said chamber director Debbie Doran-Martinez. Chamber members are working on fundraisers to pay the rest of the cost of his trip home, estimated at about $44,000.

Bullinger was on a Chamber-sponsored trip when he became ill.

The crowd filled the Elks parking lot and dining room, and along with dinner and live music, the evening included silent and live auctions. And they were big auctions at that. There were 150 items in the silent auction, and 22 for the live auction.

Free Beer Nuts provided dance music after the auction, donating their performance, said organizer Kandi Bersanti, and A-Crew BBQ donated dinner. Jacob Barth was the auctioneer.

Auction items ran the gamut, from handcrafted items to themed baskets, collectibles, jewelry, wine selections and gift cards. Live auction items included barbecue and salmon dinners, concert tickets, Seattle Mariners tickets, metal art and golf packages.

The final totals from the auction won’t be available until later this week. Along with the GoFundMe page, Doran-Martinez said the Chamber is accepting donations at its office, 324 S. Pioneer Way. To make a donation on the GoFundMe page visit www.gofundme.com/medical-expenses-for-lyle-bullinger

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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