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By ROSA RAMIREZ
DENVER — A few months ago, Jay Miller had his hands in Lance Price’s gaping wound, trying to control the bleeding caused by a purse-snatcher’s knife.
Now, he and his fiancee hope to help Price reclaim his life.
Miller and Price had never met before July 1, but the strangers are now united by the painful memory of that day.
Price, 32, was stabbed in the chest as he came to the aid of a 65-year-old woman who was mugged and assaulted in a Safeway parking lot.
Miller, who saw the attack and helped the Good Samaritan until paramedics arrived, worries that Price’s kindness may have come with too high of a cost.
Price did not have health insurance at the time and his family is now facing medical bills exceeding $50,000, according to Price’s wife, Dionna.
"We think about it quite often _ that could have been me," Miller said. On that day, however, his knee was hurting and he couldn’t chase after the teens as Price did.
On Saturday, Miller and his fiancee, Jeanette Walker, hosted a garage sale, hoping to raise money to help pay Price’s medical bills.
Price’s wife said that while the couple’s financial problems started before the incident, the strain was exacerbated when the medical bills began to accumulate and their income stopped. The couple recently lost the two-bedroom condominium they purchased some 11 years ago.
They are now living in a hotel with their 13-year-old son, Keegan. On Aug. 31, when the family should have been celebrating their son’s 13th birthday, they were moving their furniture out of their home to a storage facility in Denver, Dionna Price said.
"We’re taking it day by day," she said of the family’s situation.
Miller and Walker are not alone in lending a helping hand to a couple they barely know. Dozens of individuals have made contributions to the Lance Price Good Samaritan Donation Fund established at a Wells Fargo bank in Denver. Others donated furniture, books and clothing for Price’s benefit garage sale.
"The community has really gathered to help Lance," Walker said.
Dionna Price understands that her husband’s actions touched a lot of people.
"People have responded very positively," she said, adding that she created the blog lanceprice.blogspot.com to inform others about her husband’s progress.
Walker, who was with Miller during the stabbing, still remembers the 65-year-old woman hitting the asphalt.
"There was terror in her face. She was shaking," Walker said.
When Price got hold of one of the two youths involved, he thought he would be able to persuade him to return the handbag and apologize to the woman, Price later said.
But something went wrong. When the teen saw a police car, he got spooked and stabbed Price.
Neither of the juveniles involved has been apprehended.
(Contact Rosa Ramirez of the Rocky Mountain News at www.rockymountainnews.com.)