Cen­tre­ville church reaches out to fam­ily on trans­plant list

Record Observer - - Front Page - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@kibay­times,com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — Pro­vid­ing re­sources and sup­port to fam­i­lies in need of or­gan or tis­sue donors is a new min­istry for the Bethel AME Church in Cen­tre­ville. Un­der the guid­ance of the Rev. Terry Gaddy, the church wants to make avail­able their sup­port to any­one in the com­mu­nity that has a need.

Hav­ing a loved one wait­ing on the trans­plant list can be a very har­row­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, said Gaddy, “an ex­pe­ri­ence like this changes their fam­ily, and we want to do as much as we can in our area [to sup­port these fam­i­lies].”

At the end of Novem­ber, Bethel AME Church spon­sored a spaghetti din­ner ben­e­fit for Ari­ana Brown, a 16-year-old stu­dent at Queen Anne’s County High School and mem­ber of the dance team. Brown has been on the wait­ing list for a kid­ney trans­plant for sev­eral years, said her mother, Tammy Brown. Ari­ana was di­ag­nosed at age 11 with a dis­ease that caused her kid­neys to fail. Six years later, she has ap­prox­i­mately 25 per­cent func­tion in both kid­neys.

Tammy Brown said that they had re­cently found a pos­si­ble match, but more test­ing was still needed.

“We never thought we would be in this po­si­tion,” said Brown. She has been try­ing to make ends meet while be­ing out of work to care for her daugh­ter.

Now with the pos­si­bil­ity of need­ing to tem­po­rar­ily re­lo­cate to Bal­ti­more to be near the Univer­sity of Mary­land and the trans­plant team and af­ter care, Brown said the sit­u­a­tion is even more stress­ful. Any and all help right now is more than ap­pre­ci­ated, said Brown.

Gaddy has be­come fa­mil­iar with si­t­u­a­tions like this dur­ing his time as a pas­tor, he said. He said he has also been there when a fam­ily mem­ber had to make the de­ci­sion whether or not to do­nate their loved one’s or­gans.

“More peo­ple would be donors if they un­der­stood, I think,” said Gaddy. “There is a feel­ing that [their fam­ily mem­ber’s] life has been ex­tended through some­one else.”

Gaddy wants to con­tinue to pro­vide hope, com­pan­ion­ship and re­sources for those in the com­mu­nity who might be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion. The ladies in Bethel AME Church are also there to vol­un­teer their time to sit with a fam­ily mem­ber, ac­com­pany them to doc­tor’s vis­its and so forth.

Be­cause the church is a cer­ti­fied 501c3, it is able to ac­cept do­na­tions and dis­trib­ute them to those in need, Gaddy said. While they ac­cept gen­eral do­na­tions to this min­istry for those need­ing trans­plants, do­na­tions can also be des­ig­nated to a par­tic­u­lar fam­ily or need. A hous­ing fund has been es­tab­lished for the Browns.

“We are not a big church,” Gaddy said, “but we have peo­ple with big hearts.”

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Bethel AME Church at 102 Wash­ing­ton Road in Cen­tre­ville or call Rev. Terry Gaddy at 443-825-2671.

PHOTO BY HAFIZ RASHID

Pas­tor Terry Gaddy of Bethel AME Church in Cen­tre­ville speaks dur­ing a prayer break­fast at the church.

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