Bless Wes Fest
Sunday, March 6th, 3:00pm - 8:00pm
Local Tap: 7300 W 119th St, Overland Park, KS 66213
Performance by Heart of America Dance Center Dancers
and Heart of America Homeschool Dance Program
This is Wes. He is 2 years old. Last September, after reoccurring fevers, rashes and mobility issues, he was hospitalized twice and had surgery on his shoulder. He was given a diagnosis of systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis. He was having pain in hips, knees and other joints to the point where he wouldn't walk or crawl.
Wes and little brother Elliott during
one of Wes' hospital stays.
Wes at home post-surgery.
He was prescribed a drug called Anakinra. It is a biological drug. The difference after the first dose of this drug was immediate and dramatic. Wes went from in pain and immobile to a normal 2-year-old the same day! The drug is delivered by injection daily - Wes has to have a shot every day. At this point, Wes' medical team wants him to be on this drug for at least a year.
The cost for the drug is $44,160 a year - $120 an injection per day, that's $3,680 a month. That's just the drug - not counting the hospital bills and other expenses.
Wes' dad, Eric, has insurance through his job. However, with deductibles and co-pay the out-of-pocket expenses amount to $10,000 per year.
Eric's cousin, Camilla EuDaly Barrett, has set up a GoFundMe campaign that has succeeded in providing for Wes' medicine for this year. We are very grateful to Camilla for doing this, and for all the people who have generously given. This mountain doesn't look so insurmountable now – at least for this year.
Eric and wife Rachel are currently pursuing long term financial help through arthritis foundations, but for anyone to even talk to them they have to be denied by Medicaid. Anyone who has delt with this process knows the headache and time it takes…
But wait, there's more!
Wes showing off his bandaids
where he gets his shot every day
Undoubtedly due in part to the stress of dealing with Wes' illness, Eric came down with a flesh-eating antibiotic-resistant pathogenic infection. I know, it sounds horrible because it is. Eric has seen multiple dermatologists and doctors, trips to the ER, etc. Nobody could figure it out. He's had 3 rounds of steroids and 2 rounds of antibiotics. After each round it got worse. He has struggled to keep working and take care of his family. Eric has told me he has a newly-found appreciation for the book of Job! BTW – Eric and his wife Rachel (who has been a pillar of strength throughout this ordeal - unlike Job's wife) also have a 6-month-old baby, Elliott. So all this - AND caring for a new baby.
But wait, there's more!
In the midst of Wes' hospital stays, while the doctors were trying to figure out what was wrong, it was discovered that Hunter, the family dog, had cancer. It was terminal and treatment was going to be expensive and might buy him a couple of months, and it would not be a good couple of months, so Eric and Rachel made the heart-breaking decision to put Hunter down.
At this point, we are very encouraged to say that Eric is improving daily due to alternative methods of healing. However, insurance covers NONE of these modalities, it's all out-of-pocket. Eric has burned through years and years of savings and investments as a result of all these travails.
So...we are putting together a fundraiser to help Eric, Rachel, Wes and Elliott get over the hump for this year. Tickets will be $5.00 per person and are available at the link below. There are higher price-points if you wish to donate anything extra. All proceeds received will go towards Wes and Eric's medical bills.
An anonymous benefactor will match dollar-for-dollar every ticket sold - so your donation doubles the amount going to help Wes and Eric!
There will be a raffle and we will give one lucky ticket-holder this Bless Wes Fest guitar, autographed by every musician who performs.
I'm Jay EuDaly – Eric's father and Wes' grandfather. I've been a professional musician all of my life. I know by experience that the Kansas City musical community will step up at a time like this. There's no telling who will show up! The rhythm section for the day will be myself, James Albright on bass, Mark Lowery on keyboards and Keith Mallory on drums. I couldn't ask for a better musical foundation than that! I guarrantee it will not suck! The performance schedule below is up-to-date...as of now.
There will be performances by dancers from the Heart of America Dance Center - dancers taught by Wes' mother, Rachel EuDaly. There will also a performance by the Heart of America Homeschool Dance Program.
There will be vendors selling stuff, and the venue also serves food and drink should you so desire.
I'm very proud of my son and daughter-in-law in how they have, and are, dealing with this. This is a pretty major curve-ball life has thrown at them, but I have every confidence things will work out.
A close friend of mine (also a musician) after losing his wife told me, “When things get tough, just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other, and sooner or later, you'll walk out from under it.” Well, we're not out from under it yet - so this party/fundraiser is the next step. Let's party!
House Band for the Afternoon:
Jay EuDaly: Guitar, Vocals
Mark Lowrey: Keyboards
James Albright: Bass
Keith Mallory: Drums
3:00-3:35: House Band with special guests Mark Valentine & Phil Brenner
3:45-4:15: Ted Luce & the Moneymakers
4:25-5:00: Mama Ray & Allen Monroe with Bree Plaster & Jay EuDaly. Special guest Ron Gutierrez
5:00-5:05: Heart of America Homeschool Dance Program
5:05-5:35: Jesse James' Gang
5:40-5:55: David & Moree
5:55-6:05: Heart of America Dance Center Dancers
6:05-6:40: Heather Thornton & Friends (Bree Plaster, Jeremy Johnston, Jay EuDaly)
6:50-7:25: Terry Hancock & Friends (Walt Chambers, Jimmy Gallagher, James Albright)
7:30: House Band closes