Editorial: Burn victim seeing he has community full of friends
Family and friends of Villa Park resident Jason Cassidy held a benefit for him Oct. 29 to help him pay off his medical bills. It’s good to see so many people from throughout the western suburbs support Cassidy after he was seriously injured in a fire.
There’s been far too much grief that has come from an early morning blaze on July 22 in Lombard.
The fire, believed to have been set intentionally, took the life of Paula Morgan on the eve of her 25th birthday. She leaves behind her son and mother, with whom she shared the residence.
The fire also altered the life of Jason Cassidy, a 25-year-old resident of Villa Park, who sustained burns over 40 percent of his body. He was one of Morgan’s friends who attended her party.
After being released from Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood in early September, Cassidy lived with his father, Bob Cassidy, in Schaumburg for nearly two months while he recovered from his injuries. He moved back into his Villa Park residence this past weekend.
Todd Mandoline, a 23-year-old Villa Park resident, was charged with first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated arson, one count of arson and one count of criminal damage to property. He was Morgan’s former boyfriend and is accused of setting the house on fire.
These facts offer a grim account of an incomprehensible act. But they also lead to an inspiring story of a young man determined to get on with his life and a community full of supporters who are doing what they can to help Cassidy deal with his mounting debt.
Bob Cassidy estimated that his son’s medical bills could climb as high as $250,000. Cassidy worked as a landscaper but had no health insurance when he was injured in the fire.
Lombard Trustee Laura Fitzpatrick worked with Bob Cassidy and family friends to organize a benefit held Oct. 29 at the Westin Hotel and Conference Center in Lombard. This also gave Cassidy the opportunity to greet the men who pulled him out of the burning home, Lombard Fire Department Lt. Mike Heimbecker and firefighters Josh Hays and Benjamin Speck.
People can still help out with financial donations. Contributions can be sent to the Disabled Person Trust FBO Jason Cassidy, c/o American Charter Bank, 1199 E. Higgins Road, Schaumburg, IL 60193; or visit online at www.gofundme.com/jasoncassidy.
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