Copyright 2001

[ November 23rd 2001 ]

Five-year-old Brisin Price likes to play Sony PlayStation and Nintendo Gameboy. His mom, Jocelynne Price, said that he spends hours playing video games. "It's his life," she said.

Brisin said his favorite PlayStation game is "Tomb Raider III," and added that he's almost beat it. He also likes to run around and play army with his toy guns, as well as crack jokes and make people laugh. He likes to do everything that any other 5-year-old does, really.

But the Menominee Elementary kindergarten student also has a problem: a hole in his heart that was discovered during a routine physical before school started this year. It's a condition that he was apparently born with, according to Price. But she and her family are hopeful that an open heart surgery scheduled for Dec. 13 can correct the problem.

Marlene Pletcher, Brisin's grandmother, said Brisin's doctor discovered an irregular heartbeat during his physical before school started. Tests were conducted in South Bend and then culminated in October at Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis where doctors decided that open heart surgery was the best option for Brisin.

"They said he would be fine after he had this surgery," Pletcher said. But the cost of the surgery is staggering for a family trying to make it week by week. Price, whose husband, Robert Kratchmar, recently lost his job and the insurance benefits that came with it, said that the surgery will cost between $60,000 and $80,000.

With that in mind, Price and Pletcher decided to have a benefit featuring food and live entertainment in hopes that people would help out. The event will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday at Crossroads Family Restaurant, 2513 N. Michigan St., Plymouth. There is a $10 cover charge to cover the price of donated food, live entertainment and beer, with all the proceeds going towards the cost of Brisin's surgery.

Angela Smith, co-owner of Crossroads Family Restaurant, said she has known the Price family for a while and she wanted to try to help them, so she donated a room for the benefit. "I've got a two-year-old and a four-year-old so I can kind of understand how she (Jocelynne) feels," Smith said.

Smith said live bands will play throughout the night and that she expects the benefit to end around 3 a.m. Sunday. And Brisin remains in good spirits too. "I've got a hole in my heart," he said while smiling and clowning around. "I've got to have surgery."

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