TUNKHANNOCK – Comfort Inn & Suites in Tunkhannock was transformed into Magic Kingdom Jan. 22 with Disney princesses abounding, many of whom were mothers and daughters, including Falls Twp. resident Karen Thomas and her 7-year-old daughter Olivia.
The event was a fundraising benefit called A Royal Affair and the princesses in attendance are friends and family members of Lake Winola resident Mary Yuhas, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer on October 2016.
Jeanne Payne, who has been Yuhas’ best friend since the two were in fifth grade, wanted to help her friend pay medical expenses that her insurance doesn’t cover, travel for treatments and equipment. Payne collaborated with her sister, Barbara Callahan, who owns a balloon-making business called Ally’s Air.
“We decided to do a children’s event to make money for her (Yuhas),” said Payne, who, disguised as Minnie Mouse, led the children in parades every hour across the inn’s hallways and lobby. In the meeting room, Callahan twisted balloons into animals or items to give to the children.
“The community really pulled together,” said Callahan. “It’s a good event for children. It’s for a good cause, and I think everybody came together well.”
Also in the meeting room, children enjoyed face painting, photo props, and a magic show by local magician Pat Ward, of Wilkes Barre. Ward put 9-year-old Chelsea Porter, the grandniece of Jeanne and Barbara, into a guillotine while the other kids in the audience shouted, “Off with her head!”
It’s great,” Chelsea’s grandfather John Porter (brother of Jeanne an Barbara) said about setting up the event. “It’s nice that the hotel is doing this for the kids.”
Besides the meeting room, Comfort Inn & Suites also donated the lobby and the board room at no cost. The lobby was used for raffle baskets, which also raised funds for Yuhas. Snacks, including candy, marshmallow and a chocolate fondue, were in the boardroom.
“Comfort Inn & Suites is very community-minded,” said Henry Decker, director of guest services. “We were more than willing to provide the rooms. We’re more than a hotel. We’re a home away from home.”
Besides Comfort Inn, more than 50 local businesses helped Yuhas by either sponsoring the event or offering monetary donations. Idle Hours Lanes and Lahey Family Fun Park were among the many who provided raffle baskets. Lake Winola Beverage, where Yuhas is currently a manager, donated beverages for the event. Many local businesses in Tunkhannock donated items to A Royal Affair. Monzie’s Floral Design donated flowers. Keystone Konfections donated cupcakes.
“Everybody knows her (Yuhas),” said Payne. “She is just that well-known because she is such a caring, kind person that, when anybody said anything, she was there for them.”
Payne mentioned Yuhas helps the community by going grocery shopping for people or making soup for anybody who is sick.
“As far as I’m concerned, she’s the best person in the world,” Payne said about Yuhas.
Magician Pat Ward, of Wilkes Barre. does a trick with Chelsea Porter, 9, of Mehoopany, in the guillotine as kids in the audience shout, ‘Off with her head!’
riends and family members of Mary Yuhas, who is battling Stage 4 lung cancer, dressed as Disney characters or superheroes for the fundraising event called A Royal Affair.
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