Turnout was light at a fundraiser for Tarkington teen Braden West on Saturday, July 28, at Tarkington Middle School. Roughly 50 people came to bid on auction items and purchase barbecue sandwiches in the fundraiser to offset West’s medical bills.
Those who attended, however, came with a giving heart and bid on nearly every one of the auction items available, including a rocking chair donated by State Rep. Ernest Bailes that fetched $250.
“We are grateful and thankful for any amount we reach today,” said West’s mother, Wendy. “This will go toward insurance premiums and bills.”
All of Braden’s life has involved extended hospital stays, doctors’ appointments and surgeries. He was one of a set of triplets born 16 years ago to Wendy and her husband. The triplets were born at 25 weeks gestation, causing lingering medical issues for the two surviving children – Braden and Brian. The third child, Ryan, died at 3 days old.
At 9 days old, Braden suffered a brain bleed that left him with hydrocephaly, cerebral palsy and epilepsy. He survives today with the help of medical treatments that include shunts in his brain. Earlier this year, Braden was hospitalized for several weeks when the shunt failed, and he developed infections.
Though he is now home and appears to be recuperating, the extended medical stays have placed an tremendous financial burden on the family, which is why their friend, Courtney Lowe, decided to organize Saturday’s fundraiser. Several of Braden’s supporters wore T-shirts that read: “Braden is one in a minion.”
The final tally for Saturday’s fundraiser was not available Saturday evening. Anyone wanting to help the family can still make a donation at https://www.gofundme.com/5jqi0g0. As of Saturday night, the Go Fund Me fundraiser had reached $2,320 of a $5,000 goal.
Vanesa Brashier, email@example.com