Every day Beatrice Wolcott of Winchester struggles to breathe and is in need of a double lung transplant. According to The National Foundation for Transplants, Beatrice is suffering from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and her lungs are operating at a mere 25% of their capacity.
After nearly a decade of illness Bea was told that without a Double Lung Transplant she would die. She was added to the transplant list in May of 2012. However, there’s more to a transplant than finding a donor, it is the cost. Her health care coverage only pays 80% of the $800,000.00 bill, leaving the family with a balance of about $160,000.00. This will not include her after care or the cost of anti rejection medications that she will have to take for the rest of her life.
This is where Steve and Beatrice Wolcott’s family and friends have stepped in.
Long time friends and owners of The Temecula Wine and Beer Garden in Old Town, Mike and Monica Wagner wanted to help their dear friend and offered to host a fundraising benefit for Bea. Before long, good friend Harry Shaw stepped in to promote and organize the event, followed by Desirre Cortez who coordinated the evening’s music, food, decorations and raffle.
Harry hit the pavement running. “I promoted this everywhere I went, no matter what store I was in or who I talked to, I handed them a flyer and asked for donations. I have never worked this hard on an event; But Beatrice and Steve are family to me and I can’t think of anyone more deserving. There is no question that this event was a huge success. I am so grateful to everyone that came out in support and donated.”
Beatrice’s fundraiser was scheduled in conjunction with the monthly bike night coordinated by Desi Cortez. With its heavy promotion and previous press releases, at any given time there were about 400 people at the event and another few hundred or more that came and went.
All evening, riders, friends and family came in for a taco plate and dropped off cash donations. All of the food was donated by The Temecula Wine and Beer Garden, the 5.00 per plate went directly to Beatrice’s Transplant Fund.
Music was provided by The Side Project. Steve Crain, of the Side Project, noted that this bike night was the largest crowd he had ever played to at The Garden.
Gloria Roque a long time friend of the Wolcott’s flew down from San Francisco as a surprise. She spoke with event goers about donor awareness. Bea’s Physician, Dr. Charles Frailey of Rancho Family Medical Group along with his staff also came to support Bea and her family.
In a phone interview Harry told me that even he was stunned. “I was amazed at the sea of bikes; in my many years of going to The Garden I have never seen such a showing of love and respect. I want to extend my gratitude to everyone for making this such an overwhelming success.”
“Today I am feeling good, a little foggy but good.” Bea told me Monday morning. Even with the long prior evening, she was in good spirits and happy to talk and had a message to pass along.
“I want to thank Mike and Monica from the Wine and Beer Garden for hosting my fundraiser and to Harry for all his hard work and continuous efforts, also to Des for all her efforts last night. A special thanks to my family, my son Steven and my husband Steve for loving me and making each day possible. Some people say bikers are a rough crowd, this bike night tells a different side. Bikers are some of the most warm hearted, giving , accepting, loving crowd you would ever want to meet, and some of the most loyal people and friends I know! I hope you’re as fortunate to know some of my friends. If not, the next time you meet a biker smile and say hi. They don’t bite.”
More fundraising events are in the works, I will keep you updated.
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Photos Courtesy of Valley News Staff Photographer Shane Gibson.