Paws for Penny Fundraiser Supports VHS Alum

penny tornman
Penny Toornman Major with her twin sister Laurie Toornman Hare.

By Sue Moore

“For generations in Vicksburg the paw print has been a symbol of our Bulldog pride and loyalty. When one of our own is in a battle for her life, the paw print is here to help,” said Karla Piper, a 1987 Vicksburg High graduate.

Sterling silver paw print necklaces and earrings are being sold to raise money in support of Vicksburg’s own Penny Toornman Major, who is dealing with the devastating effects of brain tumors. All profits will go to Penny.

Always a fighter — some may remember her boxing skills in gym class — Penny has been battling tumors for years. Now she’s dealing with loss of vision, lack of coordination and radiation treatment after multiple surgeries. She keeps a positive attitude through it all. But the bills are piling up.

Paws for Penny is being driven by Piper, Penny’s longtime friend and classmate, at Siesta Silver Jewelry. Karla said, “I’ve known Penny since kindergarten. When I saw the Go Fund Me page her twin sister, Laurie, set up, I knew I had to do something to help.” Karla was already considering using the paw print jewelry as a fundraising tool for VHS programs. The idea of using the paw prints to raise money for Penny was a natural.

The goal is to raise $5,000 for Penny to put toward her considerable expenses. Karla figures this will take about 315 necklaces and 40 pairs of earrings. Since she started marketing the paw print jewelry on her website, Karla has received Paws for Penny orders from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, Georgia and Wisconsin.

Besides the website, the paw print necklaces and hook earrings are available locally at the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center, Tanya’s Girl Garage, The Pet Emporium, and Don’s Card Hut. Necklaces are $27. Hook earrings are $37. Online free shipping code is PAWS4PENNY.

Penny, Laurie, and Karla were members of that VHS Class of 1987. Penny’s daughter, Montana, now at WMU, was a 2015 VHS graduate.

“Our VHS Class of 1987 was special,” Karla said. “We always looked out for each other and always will. While most people dread their class reunions, our group is already fired up for the next one. We all know what a goodhearted person Penny is. Her illness touches us all. It’s just one more reason for us to stick together.”

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