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Western music show benefits Central City family

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Posted: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 12:00 am

When Brooklyn Djernes was born less than three months ago, she was 2 pounds, 2 ounces, struggling to survive major problems with her brain, heart and lungs.

Now she's at home in Central City, free of a ventilation tube — she pulled it out twice and has gone without it ever since — and sucking on a bottle.

Her mother, Brittney Djernes, can't help but call her a "miracle baby."

"I guess it's just the love and support and prayers from the community," Brittney said. "Because she came a long ways in a short period of time."

Brooklyn still has a long ways to go, with at least four trips a month to Children's Hospital in Omaha, plus trips to Grand Island for therapy.

That's why several Central City residents have organized a benefit Sunday to help pay for the Djerneses' medical expenses for Brooklyn.

The event will feature the Rockin' M Wranglers, a New Mexico husband-and-wife duo that performs old-time Western music, yodeling and comedy.

One half of the couple, Jim Martin, does a mean interpretation of a young Elvis, said Barry Carlson of Central City, an organizer of the benefit.

"I'm told that, when he starts singing, if you close your eyes, you couldn't tell the difference between him and Elvis," Carlson said.

Carlson said he decided to put on the benefit after hearing about Brooklyn in church and around town.

It just made sense, he said, to help them out through his church, Central City's United Methodist Church.

"This is just what Christians do," Carlson said. "You're told to love one another as you love yourself."

He's got a lot of help. In four hours last week, he raised more than $3,000 from local businesses — more than enough to pay for the concert.

Brittney and her husband, Chad, are grateful not only for the community members who are stepping forward to help but also for Dr. Navid Yazdi of Grand Island, who helped save Brooklyn's life.

Brittney had been pregnant with identical twins, and Yazdi continually bugged her to come in for checkups. At about 27 weeks, one checkup revealed that Brooklyn's sister's heart had stopped. (She would be stillborn.)

Brittney was flown to Omaha, where, after an agonizing three days, Brooklyn was born.

She had an enlarged heart, hemorrhaging in the brain and severe brain damage and chronic lung disease.

But Chad and Brittney are optimistic. After all, they've seen what Brooklyn has overcome to get to this point.

"We would never have been given the challenge we've been given if we couldn't handle it," Brittney said.

And Carlson's happy to provide a few hours of entertainment and a world of help at the same time.

"To get this kind of entertainment and still have your money used for a good cause — I mean, what could be better?" he said.

If you go

The Rockin M' Wranglers

What: Western music fundraiser for Brooklyn Djernes

When: 4 and 7 p.m. Sunday

Where: United Methodist Church, 2601 18th Ave., Central City

Tickets: $10 at the door

More info: Call Barry at (308) 946-3236


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