Julie Klein Cassidy, a close friend of Meg’s and a teacher at Woodstock High School, is working with other family friends to host two pancake breakfast events at Longhorn Steakhouse at 2700 Town Center Drive in Kennesaw.
Though the donations so far are numerous, Cassidy said she’s got a long way to go to reach her long-term goal is to raise $5 million to purchase a new home and wheelchair-accessible van, as Meg Ladner lost her leg in the accident.
“The generosity is really spreading,” Cassidy said through tears. “I just want them to get better and not have to worry about anything except getting healthy.”
The first breakfast is Saturday at 7:30 a.m. with a second event Saturday, Dec. 8. Admission is a requested donation of $20 and attendees will also be encouraged to donate to the Shane and Meg Ladner Fund through Cherokee Bank.
Cassidy said Meg, who is in a medical coma, has one more major surgery before she gets the chance to recover for a while.
Meg’s husband, a U.S. Army veteran, remains by her side.
“Shane is a warrior,” Cassidy said. “He says this is the most important post of his life.”
Cassidy said it is difficult to watch her best friend struggle, but the support of Woodstock High School staff, students and the community has helped her get through it all.
“Everyone has been great, even when I had a meltdown yesterday,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy said one of Meg’s multiple surgeries left her with an infection in her leg, which forced the doctors to remove an additional four inches of her femur.
“They got out the infection but now there is no way she can have a prosthetic,” on her left leg, Cassidy said.
Cassidy said Shane Ladner continues to sleep in a chair at night next to Meg, despite needing back surgery due to injuries he sustained during the accident.
“They’ve been together 13 years and married 10. Their love is just unconditional,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy said she is in need of more donations for a silent auction to be held at the event and is requesting any and all new items or services to be auctioned off with proceeds going to the Ladner family.
Cassidy said children are encouraged to attend as Santa Claus will stop by to take pictures until 8:30 a.m. and a bouncy house will be provided.
Prizes for the auction include two Disney vacations for $2,500 each, $500 in car repairs, 14 tickets to Atlanta Hawks games, two rifles, spa packages, jewelry and restaurant certificates.
“We even have a lady from Midland donating quilts,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy said donations can be dropped off at her home at 201 Wolf Dancer Court in Woodstock in the evening Thursday or any time after 3 p.m. Friday or at Woodstock High School until Friday afternoon.
The parade float both Shane and Meg Ladner were riding on Friday, Nov. 16, was hit by an oncoming train that killed four and injured 16 others.
Shane Ladner was invited to participate in an all-expense paid white tail deer hunt and a celebration to honor wounded veterans serving in law enforcement by Show of Support, a Texas-based non-profit organization.