As any first-time parent knows, the process of having a child is one of the most exciting, exhilarating, yet simultaneously terrifying experiences that a person can go through.
However, such a joyous occasion can quickly turn to one of fear, anxiety, and heartbreak when these little bundles of joy arrive with unforeseen complications.
Sadly, such a set of circumstances is exactly what Richmond Senior High School student Cole Rivers and his girlfriend Carrington Robson experienced when they welcomed their son, Mason Rivers, into the world at the end of last month.
Baby Mason, born on January 26th, arrived with unexpected complications including under developed intestines and butterfly vertebrae.
Due to the severity of his intestinal complications, the newborn underwent surgery at just two days old to place a colostomy. And as it appears now, he will most likely require additional surgery for this condition when he reaches the six-month mark.
Additionally, he was also born with a condition known as butterfly vertebrae in which the lateral halves of the vertebrae have failed to fuse together properly. As Mason grows the exact severity of this condition will become more well-known and a course of treatment will be determined. But as is the case with his intestines, it is likely that he will need surgery on his spine as well.
Fortunately for Rivers and Robson, they have the love and support of the Richmond Raider Band Fans who have decided to come together to host a fundraiser event on their behalf.
“We are the officers of the Richmond Raider Band Fans,” explained event organizer Holly Bellanger. “Mason’s father is in marching band and plays the trumpet. We want to do what we can to support one of our own and his son.”
“I have three children of my own and I know how it feels to bring them home for the first time,” she continued. “It can be difficult.”
She went on to describe that although she was fortunate enough to have three healthy babies, the amount of sympathy and compassion she has for Rivers and Robson who are experiencing first time parenthood under such extreme circumstances.
“I just can’t imagine being at school all day, knowing that you have a baby at home who’s suffering with all of these medical conditions.”
It was these feeling of empathy which motivated Bellanger, and fellow Richmond Raiders Band Fans officers Randy Stubbs and Gus Bellamy to organize an event to raise funds for Mason Rivers’s medical fund.
Set for Saturday, February 24th at Abundant Life Church in Rockingham, the Mason Rivers benefit will include food, fellowship, and live entertainment for individuals of all ages.
Starting at 11:00 a.m., event volunteers will be serving up meal plates for $6 each, which can be eaten in or carried out. Each meal plate will include chips, baked beans, dessert, and the choice between one hamburger or two hot dogs. The lunch portion of the event will last until approximately 2:00 p.m., when the team will take a brief break to re-stock their supply before opening up again for a dinner shift at 4:00 p.m. Food will then be served until they are sold out.
During this afternoon break, a benefit bike rally will be held to help raise additional funds for the cause. Registration for this portion of the event will start at 2:30 p.m., with the ride itself getting underway at 3:30 p.m.. The rally route will be announced on the day of the event after the weather is assessed and projected attendance is determined.
Fundraiser organizers have also worked diligently to secure a glorious line up of Gospel music performers who will display their talents and entertain attendees starting at 6:00 p.m. Second Chance Ministries, Burning Bridges Ministries, and Michelle Melton and Family are all confirmed performers as of this time. However, the line-up still has potential to grow even more as they are still waiting on a final confirmation from additional performers.
Individuals who would like to make a financial donation to this fund, or sponsor an aspect of this fundraising event are encouraged to call Bellanger at (910) 334 – 2942, Bellamy at (910) 417 – 1804, or Stubbs at (910) 995 – 8544. The team will be accepting donations and sponsorships of any size starting now, and will continue to do so through and beyond the event date.
For more information, follow the official Mason Rivers Benefit event page on Facebook, or contact leaders of the Raiders Band Fans organization.