The business owners at The Landing are rallying around one of their own right now in her critical time of need.
Sunni Rudd, the lead waitress at The Rock Wood Fired Pizza has experienced some life-threatening health issues. She's had so many surgeries that it would leave the best of us throwing in the towel. This weekend, Rudd is getting some assistance in the way of a fundraiser to help offset her rising medical costs.
Sunni’s spirit bespeaks her name.
“Sunni really is a ray of sunshine to those who meet her,” said Kelly Stilwell, owner of , where I got the opportunity to sit down and talk with Sunni about her medical ordeal.
Rudd has had 21 prior surgeries, including two on her brain, and most recently a Bagatomy and Antrectomy Cholecystectomy (removal of ½ of her stomach and total reconstruction) because of four very large, painful ulcers that wouldn’t heal. She put the surgery off for a long time because of a lack of medical insurance. They also removed her gallbladder, which was very painful.
She was recently hospitalized again—on an emergency basis — when her intestine became painfully backed-up when it became twisted. Her current challenge is to simply eat. Her body is rejecting food and she has lost 20 pounds in 3 weeks. In good health, she was a once-a-day eater, now her doctors are asking her to try to eat six meals a day, which she finds next to impossible, but she’s trying.
Rudd thinks that her medical difficulties began when she was working almost non-stop with her own cleaning business, which she owned for 20 years. She rarely took a break, despite friends’ urging her to do so, and she thinks the stress and strain finally took its toll on her body.
Rudd’s husband, Joel, has been out of work since October, and it has become a challenge to keep up with the medical bills that are mounting daily, with neither of them working.
The upside of her husband being off of work, Rudd said, “is that he’s been there to help me. And to rush me back to the emergency room.”
“I have learned,” Rudd said, “that whenever you are in the darkest place, there is a reason for it. I have used this to help other people. I do not ask ‘why me? I just smile my way through.”
Life hasn’t always been a medical challenge. In the past, she has run marathons and triathlons, and worked double shifts at The Rock.
Cheri Saburi, owner of said that Sunni is a truly compassionate person, with a gift for making people feel welcome — including her children, when she waited on them at The Rock. Saburi's store plans to donate gift baskets to the raffle in the hope that it will help with Sunni’s medical bills.
In addition to Creative Mom Toys, Caffé Felice, , Eyes on The Landing, Poggi Bonsi, , Regal Cinemas, and The Rock are all working in cooperation to create a wine tasting, silent auction, and fundraiser on June 5 from 5 - 8 p.m. at .
The cost of the fundraiser is $20 per person, which includes wine tasting, beer, and light appetizers. Twenty-percent of additional sales will go to the Sunni Rudd fund.
“There are all sorts of national tragedies and earthquakes that beckon our assistance,” said Caldwell. “But there are also every day people in our community that need our help. As a business person, why wouldn’t I support that?”