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Family needs a hand

by Alecia Warren
| April 27, 2010 9:00 PM

Kyle Mungari has been adjusting fairly well since the accident.

After the 29-year-old was paralyzed from the waist down in a car crash this February, he has found new ways to play with the kids, said his fiance Tiana Martinez, like giving them rides on his wheelchair.

And Martinez has been able to keep up with the full day's work in helping him shower and dress, as well as assisting with his urinary catheter.

"A lot of the time you look at someone in a wheelchair and think they can't walk, but there's so much more to it," said Martinez, 28. "Every day there's another hill to climb, something new to get used to. But so far, everything hasn't been too hard to adjust to."

Except the bills.

Because Mungari, the family's only breadwinner, was unable to keep his labor-intensive job and won't receive disability until Sept. 22, the couple is struggling to support their children, ages 10, 3 and 2.

Mungari's father, who lives with the family, hasn't had luck finding a job. Martinez said she doesn't have time to look, with the responsibility of caring for a handicapped husband on top of their youngsters.

"It's a full-time job being a mom. This is like adding a newborn to the process," Martinez said. "If I worried about the finances, I couldn't function enough to take care of him because it would be too stressful."

Fortunately, other people are thinking about it.

Friends of Mungari's family are holding a fundraiser from 6 to 10 p.m. May 8 at the Eagles Lodge in Coeur d'Alene to help the family offset expenses stemming from his accident.

The event is intended to both help the family's general finances as well as help them purchase equipment to make their home handicap accessible, said friend Sue Noble.

"We are hoping we can get a ramp built for Kyle," Noble said. "It's a must. It just has to be. Kyle's got to be able to function in his own home."

The event will include a concert featuring Dan Conrad, Ron Greene and The Right, and 18 Shades. There will also be a silent auction and raffle.

Tickets are $10, and raffle tickets are six for $5. Tickets can be bought at the door, or in advance by calling 964-2020.

An account for Mungari and his family has been set up at Wells Fargo. Folks can make donations to account number 1483522866.

Mungari was paralyzed during a business trip in Seattle, when an inebriated coworker crashed a vehicle while Mungari was asleep in the back seat.

"We have about 80 merchants who have donated gift certificates or some kind of donation," Noble said. "It's going to be amazing."

Martinez said raising money isn't as important as people showing up to wish them well.

"Even if money wasn't involved, just to see people and hear them say 'Hi, how is he doing?' is enough to keep our spirits high," she said. "It's nice to know people care and are wondering."

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