Centreville church reaches out to family on transplant list
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.
Pastor Terry Gaddy of Bethel AME Church in Centreville speaks during a prayer breakfast at the church.