A local beach family is currently undergoing a serious and unexpected medical dilemma, as island residents Wendy and John Wheeler's daughter, Leanne, recently received multiple emergency brain surgery procedures.
"This medical problem had not been previously diagnosed and has come on the family as a complete surprise," said Tricia Kett, past island resident and close friend of the family. "John and Wendy are continuously by her side at the hospital in Tampa, and aside from the long road to recovery for Leanne, this is gong to bring on horrific hardship for one of our dear beach families. So, it is time for all of us to do what we do best, and come together as their 'beach family' to help."
With that, several local establishments came together and offered something special during Superbowl Sunday, helping raise funds for the family.
Recently undergoing emergency brain surgeries, island establishments came together to help Wendy and John Wheeler's daughter, Leanne, by acting as drop-off locations for donations. Also, the Tabarrini Foundation is donating its proceeds from BINGO night Thursday, Feb. 7, to the family. That night, a FREE?taxi service has been arranged, departing The Mermaid at 5:30 p.m. Photo courtesy TRICIA KETT
"Fifty-fifty raffles were held during the Superbowl at Junkanoo's, The Mermaid, Valerie's Lounge, The Smiling Dog, Danny's Laze Days Saloon, The Beached Whale, Castaway's, The Shamrock Irish Pub, and the Half Shell Lounge," Tricia said. "Also, the Beach Pub passed a bucket to take donations that day, and other establishments donated gift certificates and hotel stays, which were auctioned off at Junkanoo Superbowl Sunday."
This multi-establishment fund-raiser was a great success, but don't worry if you think it's too late to participate. If wishing to make a donation to the Wheeler family, Valerie's Lounge and Ther Mermaid are still drop-off spots. Also, a bank account has been set up, and Miss Renee of Beach Elementary is taking donations through the Fort Myers Beach Elementary school, Tricia said.
Local foundation joins the cause
Bob Tabarrini and his Tabarrini Foundation, a local charity set up to help children learn music, who otherwise couldn't afford to, have recently joined the plight to help relieve the stress of bills from this little girl's recent emergency medical procedures.
""It is our absolute pleasure to be able to help the Wheeler family in their time of need. It is because of the support from the Fort Myers Beach Community and Valerie's Lounge in particular, that the Tabarrini Foundation is in a position to be able to help. This was a no-brainer!" said Angel Sanchez, a coordinator for the Tabarrini Foundation.
Be sure to stop by Val's Lounge (17264 San Carlos Blvd.) Thursday, Feb. 7, beginning at 6 p.m., for Bingo Night. Bingo boards are just $1 a piece, and the jackpots can get into the triple digits! Plus, you get to help a local family in need during the process.
Michael DeCarlo has arranged a FREE taxi service for any islanders wishing to make Bingo night Thursday, Feb. 7. Taxis will depart The Mermaid at 5:30 p.m. for Val's Lounge, and then return back to The Mermaid at 9:30 p.m.
"Fort Myers Beach family, we are family, and we, as family, need to get together and help one of our own children," said Lena Neroni, longtime island resident and coordinator of the benefits, with Michael. To help any other way, call Michael, 590-5790.
Leann's mother, Wendy, was relieved to say her daughter is currently in the recovery process, and although her road to recovery will be a slow but steady one, she will hopefully be back on her beach again soon.