Amanda Lubinski would have turned 24 on May 23.
But, the injuries she received in an automobile accident on a snow-covered U.S. Highway 10 on Feb. 10 resulted in her death 10 days later.
With her in the vehicle that morning was her daughter Carmen, whom Lubinski was taking to school.
Lubinski’s daughter and her husband Ryan have since moved in with her parents, Joe and Cheryl Abel, of Waupaca.
On Saturday, May 26, family and friends will gather at the Waupaca Recreation Center for the Lubinski (Abel) Family Benefit.
The benefit – open to the public – will be held from noon to 6 p.m.
“She was very fun, free spirited, very open, really honest and very into her little girl. She was a very good mom,” said Ashley Ditscheit, who is among those organizing the benefit.
She met Lubinski in middle school and reconnected with her about a year and a half ago.
“We started hanging out again, having playdates with the kids,” Ditscheit said.
After the accident, she and her friend, Jamie Jensen, wanted to help the family in some way.
“My husband Matthew suggested the idea of a benefit,” Ditscheit said.
Ditscheit approached the family with the idea, and the planning began.
“She was a very casual person. She loved her bandanas and sunglasses and summer,” she said of Lubinski. “So, I wanted to do something with the bandanas.”
As a result, bandanas and sunglasses will be for sale at the benefit.
The benefit will also include food and beverages, a bake sale, face painting, an arts and crafts table, card games, an open gym, a silent auction, a raffle, entertainment by DJ Ernie Williams and the sale of used CDs, DVDs and games.
All proceeds will go toward remaining medical bills and funeral expenses with 10 percent earmarked for a college fund for Carmen, who turned 7 in March.
“We want the benefit to be not only in memory of Amanda but in support of Carmen,” Ditscheit said. “I think after a tragedy, people think about those who are gone. Carmen lost her mom. It’s a traumatizing experience to put behind her. We wanted something fun and light for the whole family – something for everybody where they can be with the whole family.”
There are several ways community members may help.
• Used CDs, DVDs and games may be dropped off at Book World in downtown Waupaca, RH Liquidation off of State Highway 22 and at the recreation center the day of the benefit.
“We will be selling them for about $1 per piece. We should have quite a selection,” Ditscheit said.
• People may place money in the donation buckets that have been placed throughout the community and that will be in those businesses up until the day of the benefit.
There is also an account at Farmers State Bank in the name of the Lubinski Family Benefit.
• Ditscheit encourages families to attend the May 26 event. Silent auction items will include an autographed Green Bay Packers football and a Milwaukee Brewers T-shirt with game vouchers.
Numerous groups and businesses are lending their support, including the Waupaca Area Good Samaritans and the BP station on West Fulton Street, where Lubinski worked.
In addition, fundraising efforts are under way at Weyauwega Elementary School, where Carmen is in first grade. Baskets for children are being put together there for the benefit, Ditscheit said.
“I want to stress,” she said, “this is not just about Amanda. It’s in support of all the children who may have lost a parent along the way. I know she impacted a lot of people. She knew a lot of people. This community, as a whole, is very sad about the situation. She was a good girl. It is amazing. You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”