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Family, friends to host fundraiser for Juneau business owner recovering from emergency surgeries

Flyer with details of the fundraiser for Maria Bailey (Image courtesy of the Black Awareness Association of Juneau)

Family and friends of Maria Bailey, “tea mistress” of the Northern Tea House in Juneau, are asking the community for help. Bailey was medevaced to Anchorage on Sept. 18 after she suddenly collapsed while closing down her shop.

At the hospital, it was discovered that Bailey had suffered a thoracic aorta dissection and needed two emergency surgeries. Due to COVID-19 protocols in place, visitors are restricted, but family members in Juneau connected with the care team and received regular updates.

Tasha Bailey, Maria Bailey’s sister-in-law, said Maria is now in a physical therapy and recovery unit.

“She responded to verbal commands and gave the thumbs up,” Tasha Bailey said.

However, the prognosis and timeline for her recovery is currently unknown. For that reason, family and friends are holding a fundraiser this weekend to help offset the medical expenses.

“It first started off just as let’s do a dessert auction. Everybody loves dessert,” Tasha Bailey said. “And so I reached out to a lot of our local businesses and they graciously donated dessert, and then the word got out and people asked to donate more … and so because it got so big, we’ve moved it to an online auction.”

This weekend’s fundraiser is one of many efforts made by family and friends to raise and manage funds for Maria’s expenses. Tasha Bailey says she’s grateful for all of the help.

“You know, this is why we live in this community because they show out their support for their community members and their local businesses,” Tasha Bailey said.

The virtual dessert and silent auction to benefit Maria’s recovery will take place this Saturday from noon until 5 p.m. Participants can bid and donate online, or visit the Northern Tea House at 9310 Glacier Highway to view items in person.

Maria Bailey is also a part of the team that produces the series “Culture Rich Conversations” on KTOO’s Juneau Afternoon. Along with other members of the Black Awareness Association of Juneau, Maria has helped to host, facilitate, edit and book guests on the show.

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