June 28, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Family raising funds at corn festival for lung transplant

A Medina man is hoping to find more than just corn at this year’s Lodi Sweet Corn Festival: Don Evans would like festival-goers to pair their ears with one of his chicken sandwiches or meatball subs.

It just could save his life.

From left, Jennifer Formhals, of Creston; Don Evans, of Medina; Lori Maibach, of Creston; and Rachel Fowler, of Newark. The women’s father, Evans, is battling pulmonary fibrosis. The family is hosting a fundraiser at the Lodi Sweet Corn Festival to help raise money for a lung transplant. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY DAN POMPILI)

Evans, 64, has been living with pulmonary fibrosis for 10 years and his family is selling food to raise enough money for a lung transplant at the Cleveland Clinic.

The hospital, they said, has told him he must be able to pay the roughly $6,000 insurance deductible before he even can be placed on the transplant list.

Pulmonary fibrosis is a disease that hardens the lungs and eventually prevents them from processing oxygen, leading to death by suffocation.

Evans said the only treatments are experimental and so far doctors haven’t found any that work for him. His lungs only can process 25 percent of the oxygen they take in, and he’s been using an oxygen pump around the clock for the past five years.

The Air Force veteran served at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey and has worked as a machinist and a salesman. He attends Church of God in Medina. He has been married to his Judy for 46 years and has four children — Rachel Fowler, of Newark; John Evans, of New York City; and Lori Maibach and Jennifer Formhals, both of Creston. All are helping with the fundraising effort.

Evans also has six grandsons and one great-grandson.

So far, the family has raised about $3,000, but Evans said they’re trying to reach at least $20,000 to cover various other medical expenses and help with household bills while he is off work.

The festival is just one way they’re reaching out to the community for help. The family will be there through the festival selling food and drinks and even a CD of gospel music Evans made with his three daughters. Evans plays the hammered dulcimer.

Today and Saturday, a chair masseuse will be at the family’s tent offering massages for donations.

On Saturday, the team will split up with some selling grilled hot dogs at Sears Appliance and Hardware’s Friends and Family Day in Medina.

On Aug. 1, Bob Evans restaurants in Medina, Harrisville Township, Wadsworth and Wooster will put 15 percent of sales toward the Lungs for Don fund with presentation of a coupon that is available at the fundraiser sites.

The “Lungs for Don” tent is at the back of the festival lot, past the French fries stand. Just look for the orange shirts.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.