INDIAN TRAIL, NC (WBTV) - There is nothing like the feeling of community. That feeling you belong, that your neighbors care about you and that they're looking out for you.
Brandon and Ashley Simpson learned very quickly the power of community when a trip to the ER turned Ashley and Brandon's world upside down.
Ashley says they'd gone to the ER for what they thought was heat exhaustion. Hours later, Ashley says, doctors diagnosed Brandon with
, a brain cancer more commonly found in children.
The next day, July 4, 2014, with one baby on the way and another in her arms, Ashley and all Brandon's family waited and prayed through six hours of brain surgery.
Their world would have crumbled if not for their community and faith. Ashley says this been their rock. "Well the Lord has been so good to us and gives us peace and strength and each other. And this community that cares so much about us," she told me from her home in Fort Mill. "Brandon has been so positive he never stops fighting, so we can't."
Brandon was considered cancer free until his six month check-up showed another tumor very close to the brain stem.
“We are doing well, every day is ‘one-day-at-a-time' in our life right now,” according to Ashley.
The treatment for this tumor isn't paid for by insurance, and that is where the community and family come in.
Brandon is from a huge family by today's standards. He's the baby of seven kids. Brandon's sister, Sara Simpson Mangum, wanted me to recognize him as a ‘Mo's Hero' because, "he's one of the good guys."
"He literally has given the shirt off his back to help someone in need," Sara told me.
She fought back tears when she described her efforts to help them raise the money they need for surgery.
“When I realized they needed money for his treatment I knew this community that we have grown up in would step up. And they have,” she described, fighting back tears.
Sara has been busy planning, Bash For Brandon. The fundraiser takes place Wednesday June 17th at Kate's Skating Rink.
“Kate's has donated the whole place to us. All the proceeds raised will go to help my baby brother. Even their employees are donating their time,” she said.
The event starts at 6:30 p.m. and goes "until," Sara told me. The event will focus on family and community.
“Everyone is welcome. There will be fun for kids, skating, silent auction items, and raffle tickets to win some really great prizes,” Sara said. “There's even a pie in the face contest. And I know we'll do our best to help Ashley and Brandon when they need us mos."