When Brent Sandmann was 15, he was diagnosed with a seizure disorder.
By the time he was 20, he had also been diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack itself impacting skin, joints, organs, blood cells, healthy tissue and the brain.
According to Jody Sandmann, Brent had been seeing his issues with Lupus and his seizures stabilize, and life seemed to be going relatively well for the Franklin man. He was able to work, enjoy his hobbies and interests and live life.
Then in May 2017 he started experiencing health concerns, including high fevers, joint and muscle pain, extreme fatigue and developed a blood clot in his leg. All of that meant missed time at work.
More recently Brent was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that involves significant muscle and nerve pain.
Next week, said Jody, Brent will be heading back to the Mayo Clinic for additional testing in order to determine if there are other issues he is facing.
Jody used the word complicated to describe to others what Brent has undergone in recent years.
Life has not been easy for Brent.
While he has been able to work through some of the health challenges he has faced, that came to an end this summer.
“He has not worked at all since July,” said Jody.
Yet, the medical bills, as well as the everyday life expenses keep piling up.
The Franklin community began to ask Jody and Brent how they could help, and through much of his challenges they felt they could handle things.
“We have received a lot of family support,” said Jody, adding she has been able to continue to work as well.
With less income coming in for them, Brent and Jody accepted the offer for a benefit to be held to help raise funds for those increasing expenses.
That benefit is being held this coming Saturday (Nov. 17) from 2-7 p.m. in Franklin at the Cedar Mountain Elementary School (note location change).
According to Jolene Lueck, who has been helping to coordinate the benefit, the benefit will include a pulled pork meal, as well as a silent auction and a live pie auction. The meal is being served in the school cafeteria. The silent auction is being held from 2-6:30 p.m., with the pie auction starting at 5:30 p.m.
Lueck said those who may be interested in donating items for the silent auction are encouraged to give her a call at (507) 430-2221. She said items for the silent auction are still being accepted, but she needs to know about them by Friday.
The fundraising event also includes a wine pull, with corks being sold for $20.
Free will offerings are being accepted.
Lueck said a $250 action grant from Thrivent has helped to cover some of the costs of putting on the benefit, and those who might like to volunteer their time before, during or after the benefit are encouraged to contact Lueck.
An online Go Fund Me Page has also been set up for Brent. It can be found at www.gofundme.com/ sandmann.
Both Brent and Jody are Cedar Mountain High School graduates.
While the pain has been debilitating for Brent, Jody said they have taken a more natural approach to pain mitigation. She said that has allowed him to sleep a little at a time.
“He has lost an extreme amount of weight,” she said, adding they have also added malnutrition to the list of health concerns Brent is facing.
For Brent even the most basic of tasks, such as doing a load of laundry, can be enough to wear him out.
Yet, Jody added, his spirits are good.
Despite knowing there are currently no cures for the Lupus and fibromyalgia Brent has been diagnosed with, Jody said they still are holding out hope for the future.
Right now, said Jody, it feels as if Brent is taking one step forward and then two steps backward.
Jody said she and Brent are extremely grateful for the support they have received from family along the way and, even though they are independent people, they are very appreciative of the efforts that have been made for Brent.
There are more tests and scans in Brent’s future.
Health challenges will face him for the rest of his life, and this coming Saturday the public has the opportunity to help ease some of that pain by attending the benefit being held for him.