DaMonica Paul hugs her uncle Johnie Robinson (11/28/09).
Elkhart, IN - Back in August, we wrote about 4-year old DaMonica Paul, whose nose was bitten off by a neighbor's pit bull. Recent photos of the little girl show the effects of the disfiguring attack. As DaMonica prepares for multiple surgeries to reconstruct her missing nose, community support has picked up. Organizers of Cornbread-n-Jazz, a grassroots community arts outreach group in Elkhart, say a wave of momentum to help the Paul family is now rolling in.
A free event will be held on December 18 to benefit the family featuring live local music, an open microphone for poetry readings and people from local arts, business, faith, social services and community leadership circles. It's the first time Cornbread-n-Jazz has chosen to focus on the needs of one specific family. Originally, the group aimed to provide free, upscale entertainment and networking opportunities for adults who were out of work or facing life transitions.
The July Dog Attack
After the dog bite last July, DaMonica was airlifted to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis, where her nose was surgically re-attached. Several weeks later, her nose detached and fell away, leaving the nostrils uncovered and open. The nose could not be re-attached a second time. Doctors then sealed the hole in DaMonica's face by stitching the remaining nostril flaps together. In mid-December, a complicated process of repairing her facial disfigurement begins.
A team of doctors expects to perform one surgery every three weeks, for up to a twelve-week period. Between the surgeries and afterward, for up to 24 weeks, she will be quarantined. After that, the "sweet, social bunny of a child with a real gift of the gab," will have a 10 percent chance of recovering any sense of smell, according to her mother. City Councilman Rod Roberson connected the Paul family with the Cornbread-n-Jazz organizers after hearing DaMonica's story.
DaMonica's mom is a homemaker. Her father is a machinist who was laid off from a factory job in Elkhart two years ago. The couple has two other children, ages 16 and 7. On public assistance, the Pauls can't handle the present or future emotional or financial strains alone. They anticipate extensive medical bills, not covered by Medicare, as well as travel and wardrobe costs -- hypo-allergenic clothing with snaps to prevent fabrics from rubbing the child's face as it heals.
How to Help DaMonica Paul
Cornbread-n-Jazz will take place from 8 to 11 pm Dec. 18 at Concord Mall. Admission is free, but a non-perishable food item will be collected at the door and given to the Paul family and other local food outreach programs. Drop off any used cell phone at Concord Mall. For every used cell phone donated, $1 will be donated to DaMonica's fund. Fore more information, call Concord Mall's marketing office at 875-6502 or visit the Cornbread-n-Jazz Facebook page.
DaMonica Paul Relief Fund
Donations can be made to the "DaMonica Paul Relief Fund" at any 1st Source Bank or sent via mail: 1st Source Bank / P.O. Box 1602 / South Bend, IN 46634
08/31/09: DaMonica Paul, Elkhart Pit Bull Attack Victim, Needs Your Help
07/28/09: Elkhart, Indiana Discusses Pit Bull Law After Series of Attacks