Life can be a challenge when you find yourself cursed, yet blessed at the same time. Jenny Wear spent her Independence Day feeling just that way, watching her son Ryan Stubblefield recover from a bone marrow transplant at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
Friday night, Rome musicians Scott Thompson and Marc Johnson are leading a benefit at the Brewhouse Grill & Bar on Broad Street to raise funds to offset Ryan’s tremendous medical bills.
“Scott and Marc are two of the most amazing human beings on the planet,” said Jenny Wear, Ryan’s mother.
Thompson said he has known Jenny and knew a little bit of the back-story behind Ryan’s health issues and that prompted him to get together with Johnson to plan the event.
That back-story is part of the reference to “the curse.” When Ryan was 12, his sister Molly, 10, died from a mysterious ailment that no one could get a handle on. His mother said his worst fear growing up was that whatever took his sister’s life might ultimately impact him.
Fast-forward a decade and when Ryan was getting an immunization shot, a sore popped up that looked like one Molly had and, well, you can imagine the rest of the story.
His mother said that after visits to all kinds of doctors in Atlanta, one of them finally referred them to the NIH where Dr. Luigi Notarangelo, a world-renowned leader in defining the molecular and cellular bases of rare forms of human primary immune deficiency was able to diagnose Ryan with a combined immune deficiency — with RAG 1 mutation — the same affliction as depicted in “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.”
Ryan was admitted to the NIH on April 22 and got his bone marrow transplant on May 9, ironically, the day he was supposed to graduate from Georgia State University.
“Every day he feels a little bit better. His hair is starting to grow back in,” Wear said. “He is such a social creature and when you have a bone marrow transplant you can’t just go out and do whatever you want to do. That’s the hardest part, being cooped up.”
Aside from the blessing of her son’s recovery, Wear said she is just overwhelmed at the generosity that Thompson and Johnson have shown in staging the benefit tonight.
Johnson and his Broad Street Big Band will go on stage at 7 p.m. and will be followed by Thompson and his assemblage of musicians who will do a New Orleans-style jazz, blues and funk set at 8 p.m. The cover charge is $10 with all proceeds being donated to the Stubblefield and Wear families.