“Everyone has been so amazing through all of this,” said Aaron’s mom, Elizabeth. “We’re very grateful.”
Since July, East County communities have hosted numerous fundraisers for the family in an effort to offset medical and living expenses. The next event will be held Dec. 19 from 5 to 10:30 p.m. at the Shadow Lakes Golf Club in Brentwood. The evening is billed as a night of dancing and music and includes a buffet dinner of chicken, tri-tip, salad and drinks. Tickets for the event are $25, and additional donations are welcome.
Toni Todd, owner of the Red Door Dance Studio in Brentwood, has been organizing the evening’s entertainment, which will include a wide variety of dance demonstrations, including belly dancing, ballroom, salsa, rhumba, swing, hula and meringue. “We’re very excited about this evening,” said Todd. “I think we all feel passionate about this family and this little boy and we just want to do what we can to help this family in need.”
Aaron was born with a heart that functions on only the right side. Doctors discovered last summer that Aaron – who has undergone seven open-heart surgeries since he was born – needed a simultaneous heart and kidney transplant. Renal failure has placed too much stress on the boy’s heart, and without the rare double-transplant surgery, Aaron’s chances of survival are low.
Elizabeth and Aaron are currently living in Los Angeles, where Aaron has been placed at the top of the donor recipient list at UCLA Medical Center. Doctors say a proper match could take as long as four to six months, but the Tanners remain hopeful the surgery will come sooner.
Amid the Tanner’s mounting medical bills not completely covered by insurance, the family is also struggling with the possibility of foreclosure. A loan modification snafu in October has placed the Tanners in arrears with Bank of America to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.
California State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier’s office has stepped up to help solve the problem, but Elizabeth said she has yet to talk to a live voice at BofA.
“We have heard nothing from B of A,” said Elizabeth. “I’ve contacted them a few times and my mom has called as well, but so far we’re haven’t heard back. We’re not getting any threatening letters, but we sure would like to get this resolved; I’d rest a lot easier.”
But for now, as always, the focus remains on Aaron, who is adjusting fairly well to his daily dialysis treatments and enjoying the extra bit of freedom that living outside of the hospital provides.
“We’re about three minutes away from the hospital and it’s a lot better than being there all the time,” said Elizabeth. “Aaron’s back to doing his normal things like coloring, cutting and play dough. Mark (Aaron’s dad) has been driving down every weekend and bringing the boys (Aaron’s brothers) when he can. Right now we’re just trying to do everything we can to be together.”
And the community continues to come together for the Tanners.
“We’re all in difficult financial situations right now, but we really wanted to help this family,” said Elizabeth Poole, a Brentwood resident who is helping to organize the event. “We came up with the idea of the dance event and it’s been going very well. I cannot offer my money, but I feel, and hope, that this is a way I can help as a volunteer.”
Elizabeth Tanner said she continues to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from individuals and organizations she sometimes doesn’t even know.
“It’s so unbelievable the people that continue to help us,” she said. “The lady that’s organizing this event (Poole) I have never met. She’s called me a few times and I know she’s organized similar events but I don’t know her personally. I can’t believe the goodness of people like her.”
The reservation deadline for the Dec. 19 dinner is Dec. 14. For more information, call 925-522-1014 or 684-4615.