0421 Jerry

Pictured is Jerry Bivens, a fourth-grade student at Hildebran Elementary School who has been hospitalized since Feb. 22. The community has organized a spaghetti benefit to support his medical and family expenses.

HILDEBRAN — The Hildebran community is rallying around one of its students and his family.

Jerry Bivens, a fourth-grader at Hildebran Elementary School, has been hospitalized in the intensive care unit at Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem since Feb. 22. Members of the community have organized a “Pasta with a Purpose” spaghetti benefit dinner on Saturday, May 11, to help support Jerry’s medical expenses and his family.

The spaghetti dinner will be held at First Baptist Church Hildebran that day from 2-6 p.m. Adult plates will cost $5 and dinners for children ages 10 and younger will cost $3. The meal will include spaghetti, salad, bread, dessert and a drink.

All profits and donations will go straight to the family to cover their medical bills and expenses. The church is located at 8831 Old N.C. Highway 10 in Hildebran.

“This family’s situation is tragic and sad,” the fundraiser’s organizers wrote in a letter to parents and businesses in the Hildebran area. “The staff here at school have collected money to help offset Jerry’s dad’s expenses while in Winston, and the students have pledged monies from an upcoming dance.

“However, with medical expenses mounting, no income forthcoming, maintaining monthly household expenses (power, water, etc.) and expenses of the three siblings, as well as future expenses for Jerry’s care and treatment, we are only placing Band-Aids on their needs. Jerry’s father has not asked for or requested any monetary funds.”

According to the letter, it originally was assumed that Jerry had caught the flu when it spread throughout the community in late February. However, that was not the case, nor was it strep throat. After several trips to his pediatrician and, eventually, the emergency room, it was determined that Jerry was suffering from a brain abscess and was rushed to Brenner.

The letter reports that doctors are guardedly optimistic about Jerry’s prognosis, hoping for a full recovery. But that process is expected to be long after extensive medical procedures and treatments.

The letter also requests donations from parents and businesses of items or money for the meal to help offset preparation costs. Any monies donated that exceed the cost of the meal preparation will go directly to the family.

“The Hildebran Elementary School community has always united with us when any need has arisen,” the letter reads. “We are looking forward to that same unity as we reach out to help this family financially, as well as offering up the emotional support they need.”

Advance tickets can be purchased at Hildebran Elementary School, located at 703 U.S. Highway 70 SW in Hildebran. Checks can be made out to the Jerry Bivens Benefit Fund. Those who are paying in cash should bring exact change. Any payments received in excess will be considered a donation.

For more information about supporting Jerry and his family through Pasta with a Purpose, contact Hildebran Elementary’s Lorie Lingerfelt at 828-612-0429 or community member Carla Jeffries at 828-612-0119.

Justin Epley can be reached at jepley@morganton.com or 828-432-8943.

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