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Benefit Saturday for transplant patient

MONTICELLO — A benefit is planned for Saturday to help a14-year-old Sontag girl get a much-needed double lung and livertransplant.

Brandi Cobb, the daughter of Sammy and Paula Cobb, suffers fromCystic Fibrosis.

The family was notified in July 2001 that she was next on thelist for the life-prolonging transplant. A benefit was held to getthe family to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, which has the bestfacilities and experience for these type of transplants.

The family made the trip in September and has been waiting eversince, said Dezarie Fowler, a friend of the family and an organizerof the April 13 benefit.

The trip has put a severe drain on the family funds and themoney raised from the previous fund-raiser is getting low, Fowlersaid. Therefore, she and her sister, Deborah Sylvester, areorganizing another fund-raiser to keep the family in St. Louis sothey can be ready for the transplant when the organs becomeavailable.

Fowler, Sylvester and other volunteers will be selling hamburgerplates from 1-8 p.m. Saturday at the Sontag Community Center.

“All plates will consist of grilled barbecue burgers with allthe trimmings, potato salad, baked beans and a slice of cake,”Fowler said. “We will also be selling drinks for 50 centsextra.”

In addition, gospel and Christian groups from the surroundingarea have volunteered to sing during the fund-raiser. The Way ofSalvation, a group of Brookhaven High School students, will openthe music at 1 p.m. with music geared toward young adults. Theywill play about an hour.

Fourteen groups have pledged to appear at the fund-raiser,including The Davis Family, The Beeson Family, Pleasant Grove Trio,Becky Haley of Brookhaven and Sweet Harmony of Monticello.

“We have music to last all day,” she said.

While the groups keep the crowd entertained, Fowler said,volunteers will be manning a “snack bar” to compliment thehamburger plates. The snack bar will sell canned drinks, hot dogs,nachos, chips and candy. A cotton candy machine will also beavailable.

A raffle will also be held throughout the day for a baby blanketcrochet handmade by Dorothy Smith of Sontag and donated for thepurpose. Donations for the Brandi Cobb Fund at Shiloh BaptistChurch will also be accepted during the event.

Brandi was diagnosed with CF at birth and has suffered from thedisease her entire life.

“She has spent more time in the hospital than she has at home,”Paula said.

Brandi elaborated.

“When I was born, I had to have surgery before I was 24 hoursold to remove blockage from my intestines,” she said. “Since then,I have had nine surgeries that were all two part surgeries. I hadto have a chemo-port put in for my IV antibiotics because my veinscould not stand the constant use.”

One of the symptoms of CF is it causes the body to produce anabnormally thick, sticky mucus. This abnormal mucus clogs the lungsand can lead to fatal infections, while obstructing and preventingenzymes from reaching the intestines to digest food.

Every four hours, Brandi must undergo an hour-long procedurecalled chest physical therapy to dislodge the mucus from her lungs.The procedure requires vigorous clapping on the back and chest.Antibiotics and other medication is used to treat lung infectionsand help open clogged airways.

“Because of my CF, I have cirrhosis of the liver, and I havealso been diagnosed with diabetes,” she said.

The genetic disease affects approximately 30,000 children andyoung adults, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Theaverage life expectancy for a person with CF is 31 years.

A child must inherit a defective copy of the CF gene – one fromeach parent – to get the disease, according to the Foundation. Eachtime two carriers conceive a child, there is a 25 percent chancethat child will be a carrier and a 25 percent chance that the childwill be a non-carrier. One in 20 Americans, more than 12 million,is an unknowing symptomless carrier of the defective gene.

Tickets for the hamburger plates can be purchased in advance bycontacting any Shiloh Baptist Church member or by visiting DouglasGrocery in Sontag or The Daily Leader in Brookhaven.