Freedom Fellowship Church on Pea Ridge Road in Hillsboro is hosting a benefit dinner and silent auction Saturday evening to help a local girl in need of an islet cell transplant.
Gabby Mills, 15, was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis earlier this year, leading to her need for the surgical procedure.
The dinner and silent auction will be held by the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) Saturday, Oct. 12, at Freedom Fellowship Church on Pea Ridge Road, with the dinner and silent auction starting at 5 p.m. and the auction ending at 6 p.m.
The cost of the dinner will be $8 for adults and $5 for children under the age of 6, with the dinner featuring a taco bar with all the trimmings, and a silent auction featuring donations from family and friends around the county.
The Hillsboro teen is listed for an islet cell transplant at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and funds are being raised by COTA to assist her family with transplant-related expenses.
Teresa Jolly, COTA community coordinator and event chair, said that last summer Mills began experiencing severe stomach pain which led to a diagnosis of pancreatic issues.
“Apparently her pancreas has some deformities in it,” she said. “She has a couple of twists and curves rather than straight ducts coming out of her pancreas, so she has what the doctors are calling severe pancreatitis.”
She said the only way to alleviate the condition is through surgery, which involves removal of some major organs and then harvesting some of the islet cells from her defective pancreas and implanting them into her liver, where it is hoped that in a few months they’ll produce enough insulin to prevent the onset of diabetes.
“The family and friends of Gabby Mills want to encourage everyone in the community to attend our upcoming dinner on Saturday in an effort to help give Gabby a second chance at life,” Jolly said. “All of the profits from the benefit will assist with transplant-related expenses, and we would love to see the community step up and help this family the way a small town should.”
The Mills family asked for assistance from the Bloomington, Ind.-based charity, which helps children and young adults who need a life-saving transplant by providing fundraising assistance and family support.
According to its website, COTA is the nation’s only fundraising organization solely dedicated to raising lifesaving dollars in honor of transplant-needy children and young adults, with 100 percent of each contribution made in honor of its patients going to help meet transplant-related expenses.
COTA’s services are free to its families, and gifts to COTA are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
Local volunteers hope to raise an estimated $5,000 at the benefit for COTA in honor of “Giggles for Gabby” to assist with expenses related to the transplant throughout her lifetime.
For more information about the Saturday benefit, or other fundraising and volunteer opportunities, contact Teresa Jolly at 740-285-1197 or by email at [email protected]
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.