GENEVA, Ohio – A community group devoted to helping all Geneva soccer teams, from youth to high school, is now helping one of their biggest fans in need.
Nineteen year old Sydnie Brown can be seen cheering on the teams at almost every soccer practice and game.
She was born with a rare congenital heart defect called Fallot tetralogy and a genetic disorder called 22q11.2. Now she needs a heart and lung transplant.
Brown is an avid supporter of sports teams in Geneva, including the high school soccer team. The local organization that supports these teams, the Gridiron Club, organized a “Stuff the Helmet” fundraiser in her honor on Saturday to help them meet the costs of the operation.
“I think we are all very concerned about her. I think the whole school is very worried about her because she’s one of our favorite students again. But she is a tough kid. She comes with a great attitude every day. We are very happy to have her at school. And we hope the best for them and we pray for them, ”said Joe Cooper, Geneva Schools School Resource Officer and Treasurer of the Gridiron Club.
In addition to the congenital heart defect and genetic disorder Brown was born with, over the years she developed other health problems that made her need the transplants.
“When she was about three years old, she developed pulmonary hypertension. And over the years, her lungs and heart just got worse, ”said Melissa Lucas, Brown’s mother.
Lucas said they were offered a heart and lung transplant a few years ago but turned it down out of concern for Brown’s quality of life. Now she said she has run out of medication and needs the transplants.
“It’s hard. It’s really hard. It’s scary,” said Lucas.
Brown said she is worried about recovery time after surgery, but her smile never fades.
You and Lucas have put together a bucket list of things Brown wants to accomplish.
“Meet Justin Bieber, swim with dolphins, have a margarita,” Brown said.
She also wants to spend more time with her buddies on the Geneva High School football team.
“I just like hanging out with guys. They just make me happy and I feel like I’m with them. They make me feel good and everything, ”Brown said.
Lucas said Brown has been a fan of the soccer team for eight years. It all started when her older brother joined the team. She also likes to support the wrestling team and bake cookies and brownies for them.
In return, the Geneva community has hosted several other fundraising drives for Brown and her family. Your goal is $ 20,000. You’re only shy of $ 6,000.
“We are blessed to have a community that cares about their people and loves them and they have really improved and they have helped us with whatever we asked for,” said Lucas.
Brown is not currently on the organ transplant list, but they hope she will be later this year.
“We are currently still in the test phase. They hope in mid-November, late November that she can be put on the list, ”said Lucas.
In the meantime, anyone interested in helping Brown and her family can send donations to Lucas’ Venmo account: @ Melissa-Lucas-64.
Jade Jarvis is a reporter for News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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