Big Fun owner holds benefit to help local friend in need

Steve Presser, owner of Big Fun, has anounced a dance to benefit his best friend, Cleveland Heights resident Jon Lash, who has lost his income, disability coverage and medical insurance due to complications following heart bypass surgery.

The benefit will be held beginning at 8 p.m., Saturday Jan. 23, at the Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Road, Cleveland (link to map:

Featured bands are The Del Rio Bandits, a 5 piece surf-style instrumental band, and Cats On Holiday, which Presser describes as a "hard rockin', swamp poppin' band."

Admission to the benefit is $10 at the door. The facility and both bands are donated, so all proceeds go to Lash – as does a percentage of sales from the bar.

Here's the story behind Lash's need: During a 7-hour bypass surgery, Lash suffered neck and spinal damage that has left him in constant pain unable to work. He's unable to lift any significant weight, constant pain prevents him from sleeping, and even walking has become difficult.

A clerical decision at his former employer of 13 years resulted in the loss of long-term disability; now his medical insurance is being canceled as well, Presser says.

A more detailed explanation by Presser, and a downloadable flyer of the event, are available at the Heights Observer Forum:

Lash has legal representation, but the process by which he hopes to receive any kind of disability compensation is expected to take months.

"Today and most days, Jonny lives with what he says on 'his' scale is an average pain-level of 8 – off the charts for most of the rest of us," Presser says of Lash, who has always been strong and athletic. "[He] is a great father to his three kids. He does amazing things with and for them, considering his situation."

"This is about community," Presser says. "This is about us taking care of one of our own. Jonny is a humble guy. He does not like handouts. He would be working if he could. Let's try and give him a hand up."

For those who want to make a donation but can't attend the dance, Presser said donations are also being accepted at Big Fun. Checks should be made payable to Jon Lash.

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Volume 3, Issue 1, Posted 1:24 PM, 01.17.2010