Barnes’ event did the will of God

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 28, 2005

God put people in place to carry out His Will. I truly believe that when a request to God is made in prayer, He puts people in place to carry out His will to answer that prayer. That is just what happened at a special prayer breakfast for Brandon S. Barnes on last Saturday.

When Barnes, now 32, was 15, he was stricken with a virus, and developed uncontrollable high blood pressure that over a period of time destroyed his kidneys. At the age of 21, he went on a kidney dialysis machine. Recently he went through a series of tests and is now a candidate to be a kidney transplant recipient.

Knowing this, his grandmother, Betty Whitney, mother Brenda Pitt and a friend of the family, Susie Bennett, formed a fundraising committee of 13 additional family members and friends to head different projects for raising funds because after the transplant is performed, he must take medications for the rest of his life for the kidney to function properly. These medications will total over $2,000 a month.

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Bennett spearheaded the prayer breakfast and chose Mamie Martin-Ross to serve as its mistress of ceremony.

About 150 were in attendance and I had almost completely forgotten about the event until a friend called me and asked me if I would like to go on one of the two tickets she had purchased. She told me she would not be able to attend because of another important obligation.. I took the tickets and gave my sister, Shirley Lee, the other one. Accepting that ticket was God putting me in place to write this editorial to give Barnes more exposure.

When I arrived, someone asked me if I was there to write a story. I told her that I was there only as a friend of the family. However, as I sat there I was touched by many incidents, especially the one when everyone gasped when

Barnes walked in a short time after the breakfast began. He had traveled by van from Atlanta, Ga. with his father Bennie Barnes and son Brandon D. Barnes and no one at the breakfast knew that he was going to be there but his aunt, Almeta Barnes Smith. She had kept it a secret in case he would have not been able to attend because of his health.

Barnes’ daughter, Brandy, was also in attendance.

In addition, I was touched by the story his mother told of how he had been on the dialysis machine ever since he was 21 and the obstacles he had to overcome. I was touched by LaNita Wiggins’ confession when she saw him walk in that she decided to change her solo selection at that time to, &uot;I’m Still Here By Grace.&uot; She later sang her first choice, &uot;Jehova Jireh.&uot; I was extremely touched by Barnes when he stepped up to the podium to thank the audience for their prayers and support. He looked good for what I was hearing that he was going through then I thought, this young man is only one year younger than my son and my heart went out to him. I then tried to imagine what being on dialysis as a young person three days a week-Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for 12 years took away from him. He told me after the breakfast that he had to be in Atlanta by Monday morning for his next dialysis treatment which meant that no matter what he did or where he did it, he could not break this schedule in order to lead a normal life.

I had not taken a tape recorder or any note paper but all of a sudden a voice spoke to me telling me that I must write something about Brandon in my next column. I tried to recapture some of what I had heard earlier on the program that stood out in my mind.

Pitt praised her son for making the decision to have the transplant and told him that all he has to do is to have faith. Knowing how skeptical some people are about organ transplants, she told us that an article on organ donation was published in the June issue of Ebony telling the importance of donor donations and transplants. She said that it answered many questions that people wanted to know about their own rights and safety as donors.

Harvey Whitney tried to support the organ donor program when he said, &uot;You will no longer need your organs after you die because as soon as your breath leaves your body, they are useless. You might not want to donate organs because you still want to have everything on the day of rapture. But if God created you from dust, what makes you think that he can’t give you new organs on the day of resurrection?&uot;

Whitney thanked an employee at the center, Delores Johnson and an administrator at the center, Ethel Hart for making sure that everything was in place for the event and the caterer for a delicious meal.

&uot;This wouldn’t have been a success without people,&uot; she said. &uot;Through this journey in life we need people and I love you and thank you all.&uot;

Others on the program who God put in place to carry out a successful event were Beatrice Reeves, Helen Flynn, Minister Beverly Goodman, and the Rev. Dr. Mark Croston.

Committee members in place for the Brandon S. Barnes Kidney Transplant Fund are Brenda Pitt, Betty Whitney, Susie Bennett, Leroy Bennett, Wendy Barnes, Shirley Barnes, Mamie Martin-Ross, Rose Ann Valentine, Silvia Morgan, Cleo Myrick, Dorothy Brinkley, Mary Davis, Laverne Nicholson, Mary Goode, Almeta Smith and Angela Goode.

For more information on how you can be a blessing to Barnes, contact Susie Bennett at 538-8144 or Betty Whitney at 539-2828. Donations of $25 or more are tax deductible.

Checks can be made to the Brandon S. Barnes Kidney Transplant Fund, P.O. Box 846, Suffolk, Va. 23439.

Evelyn Wall is a regular columnist for the News-Herald.