ST. CHARLES – Owen Payton, 6, has been waiting for the better part of a year for a lifesaving heart transplant.
A fundraiser is planned tonight at Alley 64 in St. Charles to help the Payton family of West Chicago pay for medical expenses. Volunteers have been hosting benefits for the family within the last year with hopes of raising $60,000.
The cost of an organ transplant can cost as much as $500,000, according to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association.
Michael Mashal, who went to high school with Owen’s father, Chris Payton, helped organize tonight’s fundraiser.
“We want to try to raise money for medical bills and give Owen a good Christmas,” he said.
Owen was diagnosed with heart failure, and doctors at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago recommended a heart transplant.
Mashal said he has been part of fundraising efforts for disabled veterans and Alley 64 always has been generous when it comes to hosting charity events. The bar is donating the space and live music for this evening’s event. Alley 64 owner Jeremy Casiello said the charity event is also getting a boost from the Dam Bar & Grill in Geneva and Ray’s Evergreen Tavern in St. Charles.
“We’re doing whatever we can to help a family in need, especially a child,” Casiello said.
Mashal said the evening will include a 50/50 raffle giveaway and live music. He said businesses in DuPage and Kane counties have been more than generous with donating items for the raffle. He said he hopes tonight’s event keeps the fundraising momentum going.
“To see a parent go through this – I personally don’t know how I’d do it,” he said. “If I was in their situation, I would want someone to help me.”