2010-04-15 / Front Page

Friday’s ‘Hearts 4 Harmon’ to benefit victim of violence

by KIMBERLY MCDOWELL Editor

Lindsay Harmon Lindsay Harmon Though many empty-nesters may secretly want their children to move back home, it’s a bittersweet feeling for Mike Harmon to have his daughter return after roughly eight years of living on her own.

But he never thought the reason she would come back was because she had become the victim of a brutal attack, one that left her requiring special care and assistance around the clock and heavily in debt from medical expenses.

Lindsay Harmon, 29 at the time, intended on ringing in the New Year with a couple of close girlfriends in downtown Buffalo. While outside of Roxy’s Greenroom, a well-known gay and lesbian nightclub on Main Street, Lindsay was verbally harassed by what some said were anti-gay slurs before she was physically assaulted.

She was stabbed three times — in the right eye, right cheek and left arm — allegedly by 21-year-old Suzanne-Deanna Grover, who was relieved of hate-crime charges but remains accused of assault in the second degree. Grover currently remains in the Erie County Holding Center in lieu of $75,000 bail.

“Getting my daughter back after eight or nine years ... it’s been a change for all of us,” said Mike Harmon of West Seneca. “Her whole future is uncertain right now. Her life changed dramatically; nothing is the same as it was.”

“I just think anybody who does anything like she [Grover] did starts with hate in their heart,” he added.

Though Lindsay has made tremendous progress over the last nearly four months, her father said she still has many challenges ahead. Several stitches — roughly eight — remain in her right eye, but they will likely not be removed until the end of the year.

“She has vision in her eye, but it isn’t clear,” her father said.

Lindsay was recently fitted for a special contact lens being produced in Colorado that would aid her vision. The lens would be worn temporarily until the stitches can be removed.

Prohibited from driving, Lindsay has been at the mercy of her father, friends and other available family members to drive her to weekly doctors’ appointments, including a retina specialist. She also requires assistance for eye drops to be administered three times each day.

“We ’re not out of the woods yet,” Mike Harmon said, adding that a corneal transplant is a possibility, “But she’s progressing very well. Nothing is set in stone for how her sight will be when all is said and done.”

Though Lindsay has been able to maintain the better parts of her personality — a good sense of humor and easygoing personality — the experience undoubtedly has affected her in more ways than just the physical.

Out on disability from her full-time job, Lindsay recently received word that her employer was “cutting off” her health benefits, according to her father. She’s had to apply for COBRA insurance until she’s able to return to work and regain her benefits.

To help cover the cost of medical expenses, Lindsay has joined her father and friends in organizing “Hearts 4 Harmon,” a benefit, to be held at 7 p.m. Friday, April 16, at Town Ballroom, 681 Main St. A suggested donation of $20 per person includes admission, food, live music from four area bands, and a chance to take part in such raffles as the 250 theme baskets and a flat-screen TV giveaway. A cash bar will also be available.

“She’s been working a lot on this benefit. It’s keeping her busy and focused, other than not having a job, or health care, or her sight right now,” Mike Harmon said. “She just wants to get back to her normal life.”

Monetary donations also can be made to: Lindsay Harmon Trust, c/o Northwest Savings Bank of WNY, which can be sent to any branch, though an account has been opened at the Ellicott Square Branch, 295 Main St., Buffalo, 14203. Contributions also can be sent to PO Box 614, West Seneca.

On a Facebook page dedicated to the benefit, which has attracted more than 22,000 members, Lindsay wrote:

“Through this experience, I have found out that my friends love me more than I could have ever imagined. I have also found out that perfect strangers can become your closest friends ... I am truly the luckiest girl in the world.”

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