Benefit Planned To Assist Local Family With Medical Expenses

Benefit Planned To Assist Local Family With Medical Expenses
Benefit 2

OCEAN CITY – Hooters will host a holiday party on Dec. 22 to benefit the family of a child recovering from an invasive surgery.

Joseph Townsend, a fifth-grade student at Lord Baltimore Elementary School in Ocean View, Del., came home from school one day with a headache, according to his father Ronnie Townsend.

“We thought it was the smart boards and computers that were doing it,” he said. “So we just thought he needed glasses.”

But after a routine eye exam, Townsend said doctors were alarmed by a swollen optic nerve and sent his son to Peninsula Regional Medical Center for a CT scan.

Within 24 hours, Townsend said his son was undergoing surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital to remove a golf ball-sized tumor that was sitting on his brain stem.

Surgeons removed 99 percent of the tumor, according to Townsend, and Joseph did not have to receive chemotherapy or radiation. But he and his family spent the following weeks in follow-up appointments, observations and therapy.

With the exception of vision and balance issues, Townsend said his son is making a full recovery. But the family is trying to return to a normal life.

Townsend, a sergeant with the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD), has taken a temporary leave of absence from work since Nov. 3, and said he has used all of his sick leave and vacation time to be with his family.

“I am the kind of person who doesn’t ask for help,” he said. “But for my family, I had to swallow my pride.”

His co-worker, Sgt. Dennis Eade, approached Hooters General Manager Jason Ortt after overhearing workers discuss possible charity benefactors for their holiday party.

“It wasn’t anything we really had planned,” Eade said. “It was kind of a last minute gig.”

He said Ocean City’s Fraternal Order of Police knew of Townsend’s situation and wanted to something. With the restaurant’s help, the idea soon turned into a fundraiser.

“We always try to do something for the police department,” Ortt said. “So everyone is pulling together.”

Townsend said he and Ortt have known each other for more than 20 years and is appreciative of the work that he and his co-workers have done.

“I was happy the guys at work and the community are coming together to help us out,” he said. “They did basically everything.”

The benefit will take place from 5-9 p.m. Dec. 22 at Hooters in West Ocean City.

Organizers will have a buffet and domestic draft beers, along with a silent auction, 50/50 raffle, games and an appearance from Santa.

Guest bartenders will include Brad from Crab Alley, Evan from Shenanigans, Marc from The Bull, Kearston from Sunset and Wes Novelli and DJ Wax will provide the music.

The cost is a $20 donation at the door.

Townsend said he and his family will be at the event, but Joseph will only be there for a portion of the night.

“He is still working on regaining his strength and stamina,” he said. “He still has a long road ahead.”

His father said Joseph is currently attending physical therapy and will go back for follow-up appointments in January and February.

“The good thing is he is in recovery and he wants to be a normal kid again,” Townsend said.

For more information on this event, call West Ocean City Hooters at 410-213-1841. People interested in donating to the family’s expenses can also visit Joseph Townsend’s GoFundMe page

“Hopefully, we can get rid of some of the burden of the bills,” Ortt said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.