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Schmitz needs liver transplant; benefit planned in Verndale

John Schmitz, son of Minerva and the late Leo Schmitz, is a 1992 WDCHS graduate. He recently had fallen ill while at home, with a severely high temperature and extensive pain throughout his body. John and his wife Brandy chalked it up to being the flu, but when it persisted, they went to get it checked out. John was admitted to the hospital right away and underwent extensive tests to pinpoint what was happening. After days of being in the hospital and some strong IV antibiotics and pain killers, they were told that John needed a liver transplant and doctors referred John and Brandy to the Mayo Clinic.

Upon arriving at the Mayo, John went through more blood and organ testing, only to find out more discouraging news: there was a spot on his liver. Mayo requested a biopsy to be done, and luckily, it was negative for cancer. Relieved with the results, they continued to seek for answers as to what the next step to help John would be. The answer? A new liver. John has been put on a donor list through the Mayo, but that may take years to get. The other option is a live donor.

A benefit fundraiser will be held from 4-9 p.m. on Saturday, June 26 at the Verndale Community Center. A free-will donation will be taken for the dinner, consisting of pork, beans, brats and fruit. A silent auction will also be held.

John and Brandy have two children; Bailey, 5, and Jake, 2.

Donations can also be made in John's name at Wadena State Bank, 304 First Street SE, Wadena, MN, 56482.