Fundraiser to help man in need of heart surgery

Jun. 19, 2013 @ 03:01 PM

Archdale resident Rocky Brewer may be in need of a new heart, but the people he is surrounded by have some pretty big ones.
Family and friends are busy preparing to raise as much money as they can Saturday to assist Brewer, who has congestive heart failure and will undergo open heart surgery to implant a ventricular assist device system. A VAD system is a mechanical circulatory device that is used to partially or completely replace the function of a failing heart. Brewer would need it to stay alive while waiting for a heart transplant.
“In the early 90s, he was diagnosed with heart disease. It progressively got worse, to the point that his heart would beat irregularly, to the point that he could no longer drive trucks, which he had been doing for 25 years,” said Angel Brewer, his daughter. “He had a defibrillator pacemaker put in. In 2011, the congestive heart failure hit hard. He started swelling and retaining fluid in his ankles, lungs and abdomen.
Angel said her father lost a tremendous amount of weight, going from 214 to 160 pounds, and his doctors struggled to find the right medication that would work for him. The family was referred to the UNC-Chapel Hill Health Care cardiology team. They were told that he would not get any better without a VAD system or a heart transplant.
According to Angel, Medicare will not allow the family to go through the procedure until they have tried Milrinone, a medication that is given through an IV line that pumps medication directly into his heart to help keep the heart strong and active. The line was put in a week and a half ago.
“This IV medication is not a permanent fix. It is something that your body becomes immune to. As the medicine starts working and your body becomes immune to it, then you have to increase the medication,” Angel said.
The “Have a Heart to Save a Heart Fundraiser for Rocky Brewer” will begin at 2 p.m. and last until 4 p.m. It will include two games of bowling and shoe rental for $15. There also will be a bake sale, a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction for those who would like to participate. There is still time to drop off baked good for the sale or items for the auction.
“The VAD system is $500,000, and I am trying to hold these events to keep the burden off of my parents because they are required to pay 20 percent, or $200,000,” Angel said.
The money received will go towards covering 20 percent of Brewer’s medical cost, travel expenses and medications. The family also has setup an online donation webpage at GiveForward at http://gfwd.at/116yemJ and so far has raised $562 online.
“They did not ask for help. They did not sit here and cry to me. This is out of the kindness of my heart to give back to my parents, because this is going to be a burden,” Angel said.
Angel will also hold a spaghetti dinner fundraiser June 29 at the Thomasville Women’s Club from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $8 and sales at the door are $10. The dinner will include salad, spaghetti, bread, dessert and a drink.
For more information on either event, contact Angel Brewer at 336-561-3556.
cdavis@hpe.com | 888-3657