Benefit March 28 in Culver for young man battling cystic fibrosis

Jeff Kenney
Citizen editor

A benefit will be held to offset medical expenses for 20-year-old Darian McGrath on Sat., March 28, at Culver's Lakehouse Grille, at 620 E. Lake Shore Drive.

McGrath's cousin, Kenny Stevens, a former Culver (now Plymouth) area resident who helped found The Culver Beard Club, is a familiar face in the area, and contacted Lakehouse owner Mark Damore Jr. about the possibility of hosting an event for McGrath, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at only three months old.

Cystic fibrosis is a terminal disease with no cure and destroys the lungs, digestive system, and reproductive system. It will eventually destroy the liver, kidneys, pancreas and cause diabetes. Because of the buildup of mucus it causes life threatening lung infections.

To prevent this McGrath takes five breathing treatments a day with five different breathing meds alongside over 30 pills a day. In spite of all of this, the young man's lungs are failing him, and he only has 37 percent lung function today, which has caused him to need oxygen 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He is also in the hospital every two to three weeks due to chronic lung infections.
McGrath was informed in January that he has only one or two years left, says Stevens, and his options were to live every day as if it were his last until a lung infection takes his life, or try for a double lung transplant to lengthen his life.

"When Kenny called me and asked about hosting a benefit at The Lakehouse, I immediately agreed because I know how fortunate I have been and I want to help in any way possible," says Damore. "Once Kenny told me Darian's story I knew we needed to try and put together something special for this young man."

"Darian chose to fight," says his cousin. "Darian is a very positive person and he tries to not let Cf rule his life."

At the benefit, Marty Miles will begin performing at 9:30 p.m. (and play until 1:30 a.m.). One hundred percent of the $5 cover charge proceeds will go towards McGrath's expenses, and Damore says he'll be donating a portion of the bar proceeds for the night to the family.

There will also be autographed team football posters and posters from various Notre Dame teams as well as gift baskets, a variety of items, and 50/50 raffles.

"I don't know of anyone who has a more positive attitude and bigger smile while having to deal with such an unfair situation in life than my little cousin Darian," adds Stevens. "He's a true inspiration!"