NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Plans are under way for a fundraiser to help with hefty medical bills amassed by a Columbia Station woman when she and her pony were seriously injured May 30 when the woman’s horse-drawn wagon was rear-ended by a car.
“We hope to have a couple hundred people,” Laura Mould-Walker said Friday. “This is just going to be a big party because she made it.”
The Aug. 4 event is planned for the city’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9871 on Lear-Nagle Road.
Mould-Walker owns Don Mould’s Garden Center on Lorain Road, where Joann Wilburn has worked for 20 years.
“She worked here when my dad was alive,” Mould-Walker said. “She works so hard. I’ve known her for 25 years. This is just a way to try and help her out.”
Wilburn, who is known to locals as the “horse lady,” is in her 50s, according to Mould-Walker, who said the woman continues her recovery from injuries that included multiple breaks in both of her legs.
Wilburn’s Welsh pony, Kate, which was pulling the wagon, also received a serious leg injury.
“They have both come along really well, but they have a long way to go,” Mould-Walker said. “It is just amazing. Joann has such a positive attitude.”
Wilburn had taken the same five to six-mile route from her home in Columbia Station to her job at the nursery center for more than five years.
“She had a slow-moving vehicle sign on it and everything,” Mould-Walker said. “She had been doing it for years.”
She was heading home when she was struck from behind on Root Road by a car. She was ejected from the buggy.
She was first taken to St. John West Shore Hospital in Westlake before being flown to Metro Health Medical Center in Cleveland, where she underwent surgery and had additional surgery a few weeks later, according to Mould-Walker.
The family had some medical insurance, but Wilburn’s medical bills have totaled into tens of thousands of dollars, in addition to the bills racked up for her pony, Mould-Walker said.
“She had Kate professionally trained to drive on the road,” Mould-Walker said. “She had only been using her a little over a year. She’s a beautiful animal.”
The pony has received care from Willow Creek Veterinary Service in Medina, Mould-Walker said.
“They repaired her (Kate) wounds and she was on stall rest for several weeks.”
Those planning the fundraiser benefit are working to keep it a surprise for Wilburn.
“She’s the type of person that if she found out we were trying to do something for her, she would say she couldn’t because she hates to inconvenience anyone,” Mould-Walker said. “She’s a very modest, quiet individual.”