A benefit will be held Friday, June 23, for Thomas Zempel, 18-month-old son of Zach and Paige (née Frazee) Zempel. Thomas has spent over three weeks in the Fargo Hospital. Most of that time he has been in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Thomas was diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is a rare disease that affects the kidneys. It is more common in children than adults and only about 200-300 cases are reported in the U.S. in a year.
The benefit will be held in the 4-H building at 517 Flynn Drive in Milbank. The free will supper and silent auction start at 4 p.m. and continue until 7 p.m. The meal features burgers, beans, chips, fruit, and beverages. The silent auction will be conducted during the meal.
Thomas’s mother, Paige, who is an officer for the South Dakota Highway Patrol, has been staying at his side. His dad, Zach, has also been with them at the hospital. He is a diesel mechanic and had to return to work on Thursday. Thomas’s grandmother, Claire Frazee, says they were greatly encouraged on Monday when Thomas was moved from the PICU to a regular room.
She says they are amazed at the outpouring of encouragement and prayers the community has been offering for Thomas and the entire family. People from Australia, Japan, Germany –all over the world really – have been praying for Thomas’ recovery. Claire says, “That is the most important thing that anyone who wants to help can do. Pray! Coming to the benefit Friday night would also be greatly appreciated.”