RUMFORD — A Dixfield resident is throwing a benefit dinner and dance Saturday, Feb. 2, for a close friend who underwent open heart surgery last October.
Jeff Kidder said he came up with the idea to throw a spaghetti dinner and dance after his friend, Todd Piper of Mexico, underwent open heart surgery in October to fix his aorta, the largest artery in the body and which originates from the heart.
“His aorta was three times larger than normal,” Kidder said. “He had to be transferred to Boston for surgery, it was that bad.”
Kidder said that following the surgery, he went to visit Piper and his family in the hospital, where his recovery was going well.
“I went to lunch and got a phone call a few minutes later saying that he had to be brought in for emergency surgery because the patch on his aorta burst,” Kidder said. “He almost died because of that. He was in surgery for 12 hours, and they had to keep him unconscious for a week after. He was in ICU for over a month.”
Piper is home now, according to Kidder, following seven to eight weeks of recovery in Boston.
“Right now, he's recovering, but it's a very slow process,” Kidder said.
Kidder added that Piper is a laborer and “has worked with his body all his life,” citing his long tenure with Hannaford supermarket, as well as acting as sexton for several graveyards in the area.
The dinner and dance benefit will be hosted at the Rumford Eagles club from 5 to 11 p.m, with the spaghetti dinner provided by one of Kidder's friends and music performed by resident Dan McDonald.
“I have a friend who does some catering, and he agreed to cook for the benefit free of charge,” Kidder said. “My buddy Dan said he might DJ for the night, or he may get some of the guys from his old band together and play live music. He's not sure yet. He does a great job though.”
Tickets may be purchased in advance at Island Indulgence, Ellis Pond Variety and Mexico One Stop. Tickets will also be sold at the door.
Kidder said he's anticipating a large turnout for the benefit.
“There could be as many as 250 people showing up,” Kidder said. “Todd and his wife and his young daughter deserve it. That man is just a giver.”