By Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer
Ryan Dorey isn't even born yet, but he already has enough troubles to last him a lifetime.
The unborn son of Cassandra Athens, 19, and her fiancee, Scott Dorey, 21, of Virginia City, has a defective heart, something that surfaced last month in a prenatal checkup.
Athens was in her eighth month of pregnancy when doctor's discovered the baby had a defective heart valve. The extent of the damage can't be determined until after birth, and the doctors didn't want to induce labor too early.
So Athens is doing what most expectant mothers do, taking care of herself and trying not to worry until labor can be induced later this month and the baby can be cared for.
She had to leave her job at the Virginia City Jerky Co., where Scott Dorey also works, as is common with young people on the Comstock, for modest wages and no heath insurance.
The couple has one thing they really appreciate - a strong community that regularly pulls together when tragedy strikes, especially to a child.
Athens' mother, Melinda McGee, a bartender at the Delta Saloon, is in the process of getting a nonprofit account with Bank of America, so others can help the young couple out. Until that time, members of the community have stepped in to help.
Heather Beaupre, a caterer and longtime Virginia City resident, with several other residents, are planning a benefit bake sale and show at Piper's Opera House from 2-6 p.m. Sunday. Proceeds will go to pay for medical care for little Ryan.
Beaupre is seeking donations of food contributions that will be sold at the benefit, in pieces or in whole, and that any contribution will be welcome, not just baked goods.
Donors can make sandwiches, dips, gift baskets or whatever they wished.
"This is a community with a big heart; we love to help our neighbor," she said in a press release. "You never now when you might need the help so this is your turn."
Beaupre even enlisted her former husband, Harry Callahan, to organize the music jam, something he did at the old Red Dog Saloon for many years.
Performing will be Callahan, his daughter, Jennifer, Robert Baker, a band called The Cavalry and several others.
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111 ext. 351.
If You Go
WHAT: "Fundraiser for a Little Heart" bake sale and music jam
WHEN: 2-6 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Piper's Opera House, 12 North B St., Virginia City
COST: Admission is free; donations accepted
CALL: 847-0433. To donate food or perform with the jam, call 240-7665.