By Tom Davidson
Herald Staff Writer
One wouldn’t know it for the kind way she treats others, but Mavis Shannon-Odem needs a new heart.
The 53-year-old Farrell woman has been facing declining health since October and ultimately needs a heart transplant to replace the left ventricular assist device (LVAD) that keeps her heart working now.
The LVAD and 15 medications are what it takes to keep Mavis alive each day, she said.
And although she has health insurance and isn’t impoverished, she’s been advised by her medical team to start fund-raising to help defray the costs of the transplant and life after the surgery her family will incur, she said.
Even now, the co-payments she’s required to come up with are thousands of dollars each week.
She wants the transplant for her family. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be sharing her story.
“I don’t have time for a pity party,” she said. “I want to be here for my grandson’s wedding.”
A fundraiser is set for Saturday to benefit Mavis, one of the organizers, Rosalyn Wright, said.
“We’re just asking the community to pull together,” Wright said.
A gospel benefit concert will start at 5 p.m. Saturday at Valley Baptist Church, 500 Sharon-New Castle Road, Farrell.
It’s Mavis’ “home church” and her “church family” there wanted to do something for her, Wright said.
The fund-raiser’s about “lending a hand to someone who is truly a wonderful person and would do anything for anybody else,” Wright said.
“We’re asking the community to stretch out and lend a hand for her,” she said.
They’re hoping to raise more than $10,000 for her, Wright said.
“I appreciate them all,” Mavis said. “My friends and family have been so good to me.”
Donations can also be made at First National Bank branches to the Mavis Shannon-Odem Heart Transplant Fund. For more information about Saturday’s concert, call Rosalyn Wright at 724-342-0398 or Janice Stewart at 724-346-0609.