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Oreana Winery to Host Fundraiser for County Social Worker Injured Abroad

Proceeds from Saturday's event will benefit Tania Figueroa, who fell off a cliff in South Africa and now faces steep medical bills

A wine, music and silent auction benefit event will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16 at Oreana Winery, 205 Anacapa St. in Santa Barbara, to raise funds for Santa Barbara County social worker Tania Figueroa, who recently suffered a tragic accident while traveling in South Africa.

Tania Figueroa
Tania Figueroa

All of the profits from wine purchases and all proceeds from tips and the silent auction — to which Noozhawk donated $100 in tickets to Warren Miller Wintervention on Dec. 1 at the Lobero Theatre — will go to Figueroa for her medical costs. The event is open to the public, and admission is free.

For those who don’t know Figueroa, her friends, family and community members say she has been dedicated to helping those less fortunate for years as a Santa Barbara County social worker. She has volunteered for many organizations in Santa Barbara and is on the executive board of United Way’s Young Leaders Society, whose goal is to make a difference in people’s lives through community initiatives.

Two months ago, Figueroa left on a five-month trip to Africa that included teaching in a local school, building roads and teaching horticultural sustainability in Kenya. During an excursion, she fell from the ledge of a cliff and although she was wearing a helmet, she landed on her face, elbow and exposed forehead. She suffered a fractured skull, a broken nose and cheek, and a shattered elbow. Her doctors say she was lucky not to have any brain damage or lost eyesight, and she will still have the ability to walk and talk.

Her insurance would not cover — and the hospitals in Africa refused to perform — the surgeries she needed while in Africa. Insurance did approve coverage in the United States, so she rushed back to Santa Barbara with 30 straight hours of travel (with a broken face and elbow and fractured skull) for immediate surgery.

The procedures required highly specialized doctors for reconstruction on both her face and elbow, which increased the expenses.

Her insurance will not cover the hospital expenses in Africa, which were extensive. Even with insurance covering part of the surgeries, the debt left behind after these highly specialized procedures is financially crippling, with an estimated $15,000 to $25,000 just for the co-pay. Her abrupt return leaves her without a job or place of permanent residence while going through a slow and painful recovery.

We ask that you come support and give back to an active member of the community who has been selfless in her services to those less fortunate.

Click here or contact Scotty Overstreet at 805.689.0983 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.

— Scott Overstreet is a coordinator of the benefit event for Tania Figueroa.


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