Local businesswoman stricken; friends hold auction to help

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:47

    VERNON-Early last year, Vernon resident Staci Kruge opened Rustic Living, a store which featured antiques and reproductions and specialized in custom work. The business built on itself, bringing Kruge personal satisfaction in being able to do something she loved and in being very successful at it. But last fall Kruge was stricken by a very rare and debilitating type of cancer which resulted in her having to close her much loved business. "It was funny, because the business was amazingly successful, and I had tons of custom work," she said. "Then, while attending my doctor for a follow-up visit for a previous surgery, I was diagnosed with this cancer, and suddenly I was having chemotherapy and I really wasn't able to go back to work," said Kruge, who did not want to say specifically which cancer she had. "My last day of work was Christmas Eve, and I made sure that I got all of my custom work done and called everyone so that they could come and pick it up," she added. Earlier this year, Kruge had to spend a month in the hospital, during which time her friends completely emptied her store, put the contents into storage and contacted all of her clients to apprise them of the situation. "We thought that rather than have the contents of her store hidden away in storage, we should have an auction and use the proceeds to help with any additional medical expenses that Staci may have," said close friend, Brenda Anderson. "So we started a trust fund through our church, the Christian Faith Fellowship Church on Rout 94 in Hardyston. "Staci has been such a wonderful person and has always been there for everyone else, so now it's time that we try to repay her in some small way," Anderson added. The auction will take place beginning at noon this Saturday at the Samaritan Lodge on Route 94 in Hardyston. Several local business have also donated items. Kruge continues to undergo chemotherapy and remains optimistic about her condition. "I have such a wonderful church and physical family, and when they say, ‘Don't worry everything will be taken care of,' I know it's true," she said. "My friends have been so good to me, and my husband and three children have been so strong; my husband, Todd, has been my nurse, my everything."