Wesley Estes is fighting for his life, and family and friends are stepping up to help make that battle a little easier.
The 1-year-old son of Grant and Anneen Estes and grandson of Mark and Noreen Costlow, all of Johnstown, was born with tracheoesophageal fistula, an abnormal connection between the esophagus and the trachea, and an imperforate anus, a birth defect in which the rectum is malformed.
In addition, he is missing a specific chromosome, has a tethered spine and a left club foot.
Shortly after being born, Wesley was flown to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where he remained for a month.
He has undergone multiple surgeries, X-rays, MRIs and other medical procedures.
Wesley and his parents continue to make frequent trips to the Pittsburgh hospital for follow-up appointments.
As a way to help the family with travel expenses, lodging costs and mounting medical bills, a spaghetti dinner and theater fundraiser will be held July 19 at Faith Chapel Church, 730 Sunberry St., Johnstown.
Peggy Margucci, a family friend and event organizer, said that despite all Wesley has gone through, he’s always smiling.
“It’s heartbreaking, and I just felt like we needed to do something to help,” she said.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6.
The Ready for Eternity Players will perform at 7. The local group provides Christian entertainment and spiritual insights through drama, comedy and music.
Prizes also will be raffled off.
All proceeds will go the family and be placed in the Wesley Estes Medical Trust Fund, which has been established at First National Bank.
“Wesley is such a happy little guy. I can’t imagine what this family is going through,” Margucci said. “We want to let them know people love and care about them and they are not alone, because it’s very overwhelming.”
Cost is $15 for adults, $5 for children 12 and younger and free for children 3 and younger.
It is suggested that tickets be purchased in advance, but it is not required.
For more information or to order tickets, call 533-9612 or 536-6169.
Kelly Urban is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.