If there is one thing that anyone would bet on when it comes to the Virgin Valley, it would be the big heart that seems to show when it is needed most.
Such was the case last week when Bunkerville resident Ron Barnum underwent a kidney and pancreas transplant.
Knowing the expenses related to transplants, Barnum’s family and friends called upon the communities of Bunkerville and Mesquite for help in their dire time. Barnum has had Type I Diabetes since the age of 10, and the disease had taken a toll on his body over the past few years, progressively getting worse. He was unable to work and was forced to be on dialysis treatments for 10 hours a day.
Unexpectedly, as the family was preparing for the financial burden of this procedure, Barnum received a phone call Tuesday, June 16 that a kidney and pancreas was available in Salt Lake City. He and his wife, Lisa, left right away and drove to SLC for the operation, which was highly successful on Wednesday. They knew it would be soon, but no one guessed it would be that soon. By the time of the benefit on Thursday, he had walked out of ICU into a regular room to recover from the surgery.
And in true fashion, the communities showed up by the hundreds to the benefit barbeque at the Thomas Dudley Memorial Park in Bunkerville, regardless of the 105 degree heat and excessive heat warnings that were upon the valley.
According to one of the organizers, David Bennett, over $21,000 was raised this one event through the sale of a dinner, raffle tickets, balloon prizes and, of course, the auction items. Dozens of community members, businesses and families put together an amazing pile of items to benefit the Barnum family. “There were dozens of other volunteers and people that donated. Thanks to all of them as well,” said Bennett.
In an email to the MLN on Monday, Ron and Lisa released the following statement to all of those who had a hand in helping them:
“Lisa and I would like to thank everyone that came out to support our family on Thursday at the BBQ. We are incredibly lucky to live in a community that is so willing to help their fellow man. We are humbled by the generosity of so many in this community and are lucky to call this valley home. We wish we could personally thank each and ever person who donated something, attended and gave so much. We have truly felt the love from our wonderful community through this process. Thank you again.”
Lisa had also stated that they were hoping to see Ron released from the hospital by Tuesday, June 23, since his body has done so well in accepting the new organs. He will have to remain in the SLC area for a few weeks, as is standard protocol with transplants.
For those who were unable to attend, there are still donations being accepted at America First Credit Union Savings Account under Ron Barnum or on their online donation site, http://www.gofundme.com/ronbarnum. At the time of this report, the online efforts had raised nearly $5,000 as well.
List of those who donated (according to a release from David Bennett):
Some of the key contributors to the evening who helped organize or donated money, time, or items were:
The Hafen Family
The Glen Barnum Family
The Bowler Family
The extended Barnum Family
Eric & Randy Laub
Kate Barnum Leavitt
Mesquite Lumber/Ace Hardware
The Bunker Family
The Bundy Family
Yori Ludvigson & members of the VVHS Football Team
Jared Noel Cecil Leavitt
Vay & Marie Mickelson
The Bennett Family
Fidelity National Title
Rusty & Wade Hughes
Wolf Creek Golf Course
Keller Williams Southern Nevada
Joan Fitton & Neil Sullivan ERA Brokers Consolidated
Good Times Yogurt
Virgin Valley Mortuary
Virgin Valley Construction
The Bunkerville LDS Wards Young Womens Groups
A special thanks to Sam Reber, Larry Reber and the Reber family as well as Matt Woods, Jeremy Woods, Kerry Woods, and all the extended Woods Family as well as members of the VVHS wrestling team. These men peeled, cut, and cooked Dutch Oven Potatoes for 500 people in 105 degree weather!