Oxford First Selectman George R. Temple announced Monday that the town will begin a fundraiser for 10-year-old Chelsea Wheeler who will need a transplant.
The fundraiser will start Friday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m. during the town’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Town Hall.
Chelsea is a fifth-grader at Center School and is the daughter of Linda and Chris and sister to Haley, 15, Casey, 14, Nick, 12 and Julia, 6. Chelsea needs a life-saving small bowel transplant and an effort has been started to raise $65,000 in 12 months so that she can have the surgery. She has been diagnosed with chronic intestinal pseudo obstruction. She has been unable to eat and relies on intravenous feedings to live.
Temple said Town Hall will set up a giving tree in the foyer the week of Dec. 2 which will remain in town hall until Jan. 1. On the night of the tree lighting there will be a table located inside the foyer where people can donate $5 for a dove that will be placed on the tree. Any other donations will receive circle paper icons that will be displayed on the windows inside town hall.
Chelsea’s mom Linda said her daughter has had health related issues since birth and has undergone more than 30 surgeries. She will eventually undergo surgery at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburg where she will need to stay in the hospital for one to two months and after she will be required to remain in Pittsburg with her mother for an additional six months. Also post-transplant care will require life-long medications that can cost into the thousands of dollars per month.
Temple said the town will do whatever it can to help Chelsea and offered the town’s support to the family.
Chelsea’s family is working with Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) a national charity based in Bloomington, Indiana. COTA’s services are free and 100 percent of the funds collected are available for transplant-related expenses. For more information contact Laurie Fernandes, Public Relations Coordinator, at 203-994-7316. For more information about the giving tree contact Audry Price and Lesley Nappi at 203-305-8489.