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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Fundraiser supports local lung transplant recipient

by Adam Gault

Friends, family, and well wishers gathered at Shakers Music Lounge in Kingsville on Sunday afternoon for the aptly named, “Bash for Brandon” event, a music and dinner fundraiser held in support of 21-year-old Brandon Summerlin, who underwent a double lung transplant on April 8.

Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of three, Summerlin had recently been enrolled in St. Clair College’s Graphic Design program when his health began to decline. This led him to be placed on the lung transplant waiting list this past March with only 16 percent lung function.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that affects mainly the lungs, but can also affect other internal organs, such as the kidneys, liver, and intestine. The condition can cause frequent lung infections, which leads to difficulty breathing and coughing up mucus with great regularity.

On April 7, Summerlin’s family received a call about a possible transplant match, and with that information, they rushed to Toronto General Hospital in anticipation of further details. It was a match, and the next day, he underwent the successful six-and-a-half-hour surgery.

“He’s done really, really well. Twelve days after his transplant, he was released from the hospital,” Bash for Brandon Committee Member, Chantelle Meadows, explained. “But Toronto General Hospital requires you to live within ten kilometres of the hospital. So, [he] and his mom have had to move to Toronto during his rehabilitation.”

Sunday’s fundraiser was organized to help support Summerlin and his family with the extra costs associated with traveling and living expenses, while he recuperates during his three-month rehabilitation in Toronto. Summerlin also requires several drugs post-transplant that are not covered by insurance. Sunday’s fundraiser proceeds will also go towards taking care of that expense.

“Now that he’s had the transplant, he has to take anti-rejection medications, and it’s such a specialized rehab that everything needs to be followed very, very closely,” Meadows said. “Even when he does return home, he has to go to Toronto quite frequently, London, and even Windsor to get blood tests almost every other day.”

Guests at the fundraiser enjoyed an afternoon on the patio, with live entertainment featuring top-notch performances from British Beat 66, Bad Moustache, Rock of Ages, and Kris Marenette and the Eastside Connection. They also enjoyed a pasta dinner, as well as a raffle, featuring prizes generously donated by many local businesses.

“As soon as we decided we were going to host this event, [Shaker’s owner] donated the use of the facility, all the bands donated their time today,” Meadows explained. “All of the prizes have been donated, so we have Tigers tickets, wine racks, wine. We’re very, very blessed.”

For more information, or to support Brandon Summerlin in his recovery, contact Meadows at (519) 982-1597


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