A HEART-WARMING RESPONSE FOR FIREFIGHTER AWAITING HEART TRANSPLANT

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By Miriam Raftery

Photo, right: Adam Beardsley and his wife, Megan

Update February 19, 2015 -- Adam Beardsley received a new heart two days ago and is doing very well, a Heartland Fire official announced at last night's La Mesa Chamber of Commerce Salute to Heroes event.

Update February 15, 2015--Rust Accounting has sent us a final tally for the event, which raised over $18,000 from an estimated 1,000 guests who attended.

February 11, 2015 (La Mesa) –Hundreds of community members turned out Sunday at the Bolt Brewery in La Mesa at a fundraiser to help cover expenses for Adam Beardsley, a 33-year-old Heartland Deputy Fire Marshal in need of a heart transplant. 

“He has such as big heart,” Monica Zech, public information officer for the City of El Cajon, said of Beardsley. She added that he remains in good spirits at UCLA Ronald Reagan Hospital, where he has been a patient since January 6th, awaiting a heart donor.  “But he didn’t want this to be just about him,” she said, adding that Beardsley hopes publicity on the shortage of organ donors will ultimately help others, too.

A single organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people. Currently over 110,000 people in the U.S. are on the waiting list for an organ transplant. Nearly 1,600 people are on the waiting list for a organ transplant in San Diego and Imperial Counties. For information about organ donation, click here.

Beardsley was born with a congenital heart condition, but in January doctors found that pulmonary embolisms have weakened his heart, so a transplant is needed to save his life.

As a firefighter, Beardsley is used to saving lives and property, not being a recipient in need of life-saving efforts.  He’s also been a volunteer with the Burn Institute and the Muscular Dystrophy Association, as well as serving the community as Deputy Fire Marshal.

Beardsley’s wife, Megan, commutes from her job at San Diego State University to visit him on weekends, taking on added expenses to rent an apartment close to the hospital. His sister and parents also have been traveling to Los Angeles, making sure a family member is with him at all times while he awaits the life-saving call that a donor has been found. 

Clint Stromberg, co-owner of the Bolt Brewery, says he met Beardsley several times while preparing to open the brewery in La Mesa. 

“He’s one of the nicest and most genuine people I know. He gives back a lot to the community,” said Stromberg, who started Bolt Brewery, San Diego’s first craft-brewery back in 1987 in Fallbrook when he was just 19 years old—the nation’s youngest craft brewer.  Now he’s brought it back to his hometown, La Mesa, running the brewery with his wife, Dianna, and co-owners Tony Calafato and Molly Rust.

“The firemen really support each other. They are super-cool guys,” says Stromberg, who made a pretty cool move himself, donating 50% of  all proceeds from Sunday’s fundraiser to help a local firefighting hero and his family.

The ailing firefighter tapped the pulse of the community, which turned out to show plenty of heartwarming support at the event complete with live music, a raffle, tacos and hand-crafted beer -- just in time for Valentine's Day.

You can donate to help Beardsley and his family at http://www.gofundme.com/beardsley.