Harley Brewer holds her son, Brayden Kase Brewer, at a fundraiser in the 17-month-old boy's honor.
By Brie Handgraaf
Times Staff Writer
The exhaustion of executing a successful fundraiser has subsided, but community support for a blind Lucama baby hasn’t wavered.
“You might get me crying thinking about how overwhelming the support was,” said Mark Brewer, whose grandson Brayden Kase Brewer was born with septo-optic dysplasia. “I couldn’t believe the support we had. The only word I can use is ‘overwhelming.’ The love we felt, the friendship and the fellowship were just overwhelming.”
The Walk By Faith, Not By Sight Poker Run and Fundraiser on June 24 had participation from more than 100 bikers and many, many more as passengers for the ride or supporters at the after party at Freebird’s on U.S. 301. When the idea for the fundraiser originated months ago, Mark’s wife Lynn and his sister Tami Barbee had hoped to raise $5,000 or $10,000 to help with inevitable medical expenses the 17-month-old boy faced in his future.
“Everything from the weather cooperating to the turnout and everything was just beyond what we could have possibly imagined,” Barbee said.
Once friends and strangers heard about Brayden, Lynn Brewer and Barbee struggled not with getting donations, but with keeping up with them. From footing the bill for refreshments and entertainment to donating items to auction or raffle off, everyone pitched in to make the event a success. One such contributor was Sherry Bass Farmer, who gave the group a $2,022 check from donations through her shop Oh My Lard in Elm City.
“We’re so blessed with family and friends but also community support,” Lynn Brewer said. “The town of Lucama and the surrounding area really just poured love on us.”
Thousands of tickets for a 50/50 raffle along with raffle for a variety of items were sold. In fact, the tickets were so popular that Lynn Brewer had to go out during the event to buy more. There also were 14 silent auction items that brought in hundreds of dollars each. More than 400 T-shirts and tank tops also were made bearing the event name and Brayden’s footprints. Only a few remain.
“We’re still totaling up all the donations believe it or not,” Lynn Brewer said.
The ladies more than doubled their goal, with the funds placed in a nonprofit account for Brayden’s future. While the poker run is not expected to be an annual event, a golf tournament is in the works for October and more events might be organized depending on what Barbee’s blue-eyed nephew needs as he grows up.