Man with terminal condition to host event to raise money for others
By Denise Baran-Unland For The Herald-News October 5, 2012 12:16PM
Brandon Regan, 27, of Romeoville chats with Katie Carpentor, 20, of Indiana. Last year, Katie, who has cerebral palsy, met Brandon who suffers from a degenerative brain disorder at Brandon's fundraiser.
If you go …
What: “Team Beefer Just Smile Benefit: A Celebration of Life through Brandon Regan”
When: 1 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: American Legion Inc, Harwood Post 5, 705 S. Larkin Ave., Joliet
What: Food, drinks, raffles, 50/50, live music
Donation: $10 at the door
Contact: Robert Regan at 815-600-9217. Join “Brandon Regan Fan Page” on Facebook.
Updated: November 8, 2012 6:12AM
On Saturday, a year after family and friends hosted a fundraiser for a young Romeoville man fighting a degenerative and terminal brain disorder, they will host another event.
This time Brandon Regan, 26, who wasn’t expected to live past his May 2012 birthday, won’t receive the proceeds. The previous event helped pay for his inevitable funeral and lifelong wish of attending a Garth Brooks concert and meeting the singer.
Instead, the “Team Beefer Just Smile Benefit: A Celebration of Life through Brandon Regan” will assist a variety of people in battling serious illnesses, people Brandon personally wishes to help.
For instance, said Robert Regan of Romeoville, Brandon’s father, four bands had originally committed to play at the event. A member of the fourth band became ill, forcing that band to drop out. That member will receive part of the day’s proceeds, at Brandon’s insistence.
“If you could meet our son, his smile is contagious; his inspirational thoughts are truly amazing,” Regan said. “Brandon understands his fate and now wants to help others who are sick like him.
Brandon suffers from degenerative cerebellum disorder with ataxia of unknown origin. The disorder affects males more than females (although Brandon’s older sister Laura Regan also suffers from it) and causes the cerebellum and brain stem to shrink.
After Brandon’s personal Facebook page accumulated 5,000 friends in two weeks, Regan began the fan page so even more people can share their prayers and best wishes with Brandon.
At the time, Brandon’s greatest wish was to sing “Thunder Rolls” with Brooks, which he achieved when Brooks surprised Brandon with a telephone call. Brandon’s mission now is to help seriously ill people realize their dreams, too.
Brandon’s fundraising efforts began when Regan told his wife, Cheri, that someone he knew needed a wheelchair. Brandon overheard the conversation and suggested his parents donate a wheelchair he could no longer use.
“So we took it out of the garage,” Regan said. “We cleaned off the rust and oiled it up and it worked really good.”
From there, Brandon reached out to Katie Carpenter, a 20-year-old Indiana woman with cerebral palsy, and an 18-month-old Texas toddler with cancer. People post their needs on Brandon’s Facebook fan page and Regan reads their struggles to him.
“They’re primarily about sick children battling cancer and other ailments similar to his,” Regan said. “Unfortunately, we’ve already lost a few of those kids.”
Even as a boy, Brandon made it his business to help. When his family lived on a farm, Brandon offered to bale hay, even though the bales weighed more than he did. If someone was mopping a floor or washing dishes, Brandon extended two helping hands.
Although Brandon has suffered a few rough spots these past few months, where his parents had thought, “This is it,” Brandon has set a new life goal for himself, to live until May 2014, when Brooks will perform in Chicago.
“Brandon thinks about things,” Regan said. “He’ll put his hand to his head and ask if he’s going to die. I hope not. I hope he can beat it. Anything is possible.”