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Fundraiser to help Bodien family

July 23, 2011

The Championship Wrestling Federation Ridgway Rumble, a benefit for Jim Bodien, is scheduled for Aug. 6. Doors open at 6 p.m. and bell time is 7 p.m. Photo submitted.

For many folks, it seems to be the simplest of tasks: "I can get into the grocery store and remember things without even writing it down," says Jim Bodien of Ridgway, "even if it is just two or three things."
Jim suffers from Huntington's disease, a genetic defect on chromosome No. 3 that has caused loss of memory, judgment, speech changes, personality changes, and has brought on confusion in his life. To simply remember those two or three grocery items is in itself a noteworthy achievement.
"It seems like it goes in three-month increments where it's a little bit worse here and there," said Nancy Bodien, Jim's wife. "He has to go for his regular therapy and the doctor's appointments go back and forth between DuBois and back and forth to Pittsburgh on a regular basis.
"He did get approved for his disability and that happened in November of 2010."
However, with disability benefits based on 30 years worth of work, multiple zeroes have been factored in and do not work in Jim's favor. He is just 44 years old.
"The amount is unbelievable that we have to live off of, it's considerably less because it's based off 30 years of earnings and he hasn't worked 30 years, he's only 44," Nancy said. "He hasn't worked that long so there are a lot of zeroes factored in-- we're making the house payment and some other payments are sometimes let go for a while, basically robbing Peter to pay Paul."
A bit more than a year ago, the Bodien family shared Jim's struggles with the local population through newspaper articles and since then, several businesses and organizations stepped forward and offered to help through various fundraising efforts.
"We were able to do some amazing fundraisers and the response was unbelievable, and we appreciate everything that was done for us," Nancy said. "That, along with the disability, has carried us up until now and now we had to use loose change to take our youngest child to the doctor's office. It seems like everything bad that could happen has happened.
"The last few years has been one thing after another and now I'm under doctor's care right now-- they're trying to figure out what's wrong with me and it's probably stress-- our youngest one also started get bald spots on his head, so we had to go to the doctor about that too-- we also had one that put his shoulder out of place.
"Dealing with all that probably raises the stress and it causes us to do a lot of extra traveling back and forth as well."
But as things started to look more and more grim, a new opportunity arose-- a fundraiser with the Championship Wrestling Federation as the Ridgway Rumble hits town Aug. 6 at Central Fire Station along North Broad Street in downtown Ridgway.
"We've been friends with one of the promoters for CWF wrestling, Bill 'Powerhouse' Hughes, and they've been to Johnsonburg a few times to see the shows, and I had met him from working at the radio station," Nancy said. "He had mentioned about really wanting to come back to the area and they hadn't been contracted out here recently, and he suggested that it would be a good fundraiser for the family and that they'd love to help us out."
Hughes and a band of wrestlers are waiting in the wings and more than happy to be back in the area.
Last year during Johnsonburg's Bicentennial celebration, Powerhouse was able to make an appearance at a breakfast fundraiser to help raise money for the family in need.
"It just the type of thing where I was always raised to help others and with this situation, I thought it was the least we could do," Hughes said. "We hope that this show will help raise money for them and more awareness as well.
"It gets us back in the area and we're really excited about that. We literally had to turn some wrestlers away."
The CWF, based in Pittsburgh, has been running shows for 11 years now and the Ridgway Rumble promises to be a memorable card.
"We're looking at eight matches and we don't really have all the matches set," Hughes said. "As far as the talent coming up, this is one of the most loaded cards that we've ever put on, and we've put on about 150 shows in our history.
"The guys are excited to come up here and it's more special because they know it's a fundraiser to help out the family."
Powerhouse promises a family-oriented show and said the wrestlers are all excited for the opportunity.
"It's a chance to raise money for a great cause and we feel very lucky to be in a position to help somebody, and we're very grateful for that," Nancy said. "We hope to see a lot of people come out and we hope to see all our fans there.
"It's definitely affordable entertainment and everyone is going to get their money's worth."
$50 will sponsor a wrestler and $100 will sponsor a match. Tickets are $15 ringside, $12 for adult general admission and $10 for child (under 12) general admission. The doors will open at 6 p.m. and the first bell will ring at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at Ridgway BiLo or by calling (814) 335-0473. Patrons can also meet and dine with several of the wrestlers from 2-4 p.m. at Joey's Bakery along Main Street in downtown Ridgway on the day of the event.

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