2012-01-19 / Entertainment

Fundraisers To Benefit Fireman’s Heart Transplant

Dinner scheduled for Broad Top’s Dennis Drenning
By Adam Watson

Dennis Drenning and wife Kim Dennis Drenning and wife Kim In 1987, Dennis Drenning Sr. of Broad Top City suffered a massive heart attack and was life flighted from J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh where he was only given two months to live. He was also placed on a heart transplant list at the time.

Drenning beat the odds of survival nearly 25 years ago and his health has since fluctuated from a stable condition to a critical level, which he is currently at. In 2004, he was again placed on the heart transplant list, but his condition is at a more serious level now.

Facing the definite need for a heart transplant, many of his friends and family are rallying behind him by holding a benefit turkey dinner at the Robertsdale, Wood & Broad Top (RW&BT) firehall at Robertsdale on January 28 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Drenning has been a member of the fire company for a number of years and has served as a volunteer ambulance driver with it ambulance division.

Drenning is currently being evaluated but has not been placed on the immediate heart transplant list. He has endured a battery of tests to date that included measuring the pressure in his heart and a left and right side catheterization as well as numerous scans, laboratory tests and X-rays.

On January 27 he will go to Hershey Medical Center for a stress test. As of two weeks ago, there were 32 individuals at Hershey awaiting heart transplants.

“Without my immediate family and my church and fire company family, I don’t know how we would have gotten through all of this. Again, I am putting it all in God’s hands to see me through it,” he said.

The first of several fundraising events planned will be the turkey meal on Jan. 28. The cost of this event will be $10 for adults and $5 for children and takeout meals will be available.

Although there are a lot of “depends” involved, it was stated that funds from the benefit dinner and all subsequent fundraisers will go toward the transplant procedure since Drenning’s insurance will only cover a portion of it and anti-rejection medication he will have to take the remainder of his life.

Funds raised will also help the couple with traveling expenses since it costs more than $100 per trip to Hershey including gasoline, turnpike fares, meals and lodging for Kim Drenning when she has to stay in the Hershey area to be near her husband.

An Internet Web site is being developed to track Drenning’s status to allow family and friends to follow his procedure. Periodic updates will be made as his medical journey progresses.

Several individuals and groups have already committed to assisting the family by sponsoring different fundraising projects. Family members stated they are sincerely appreciative of all that has been done and all that will be done to support the couple.

D.J. Drenning said he is proud of the fact that his father has helped a lot of people over the years and helped to administer to the spiritual needs of many. The family is hoping the community will turn out and help one who has helped many.

Those interested in learning additional information on the benefit dinner or who would like to make a contribution, can call Jeanette Myers at 814-635-3913, D.J. Drenning at 814-685-3640, Tina Querry at 814-635-7197 or Jason Drenning at 717- 866-6042.

Members of Drenning’s family will be assisting with the benefit meal and will be available to thank individuals for attending.

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