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Local family seeks help from community 

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Charitable contributions may help save Templeton woman’s life

–A local family and their friends are reaching out the community on behalf of Templeton resident Rhonda Benge Gates. Gates needs expensive and intensive heart surgery, and a gofundme has been started to help the family cover cost.

Her gofundme page reads:

As a young woman of 55, a wife to Dan and mother to two boys, Rhonda has suffered a multitude of health challenges in recent years.  After recent treatment at French Hospital in San Luis Obispo, a determination was made that she needed to be airlifted to USC Keck Medical Center in southern California, for further evaluation and heart bypass surgery. Once they were able to open her chest and expose her heart, they discovered that the lower half of her heart was already dead and hardened, that the heart had enlarged and was now a “basketball” shape but most dangerous was that she had pericarditis, which is inflammation of the pericardium, the two thin layers of a sac-like tissue that surround the heart.

It was determined that no bypass could be performed until this condition was under control. The surgeon spent over three hours cleaning the heart tissue and trying unsuccessfully to perform a bypass. Three arteries are blocked, two at 90-percent and one at 70-percent. This is a very grave situation. Her chest has been closed and there is hope for a bypass operation at a later date.

Rhonda Benge Gates

Rhonda Benge Gates awaits heart operation

Rhonda’s mother, Anabelle, is 83-years-old, and her father, Cleborn, is 89-years-old. They have been contributing members of the Templeton community for over 60 years. Cleborn has been an integral part of the Lion’s Club and the American Legion, and has been awarded and honored by the organizations for dedicated contributions to the community.

Rhonda’s husband, Dan, is self-employed and the resources to cover the medical expenses have been exhausted. Her parents have done all that they can as well.

“Cleborn and his wife Anabaelle have been generous and giving people for years, always helping others that are in need and never asking for anything in return,” said Steve Orduno, minister of Vineyard Church of Christ in Templeton. He says he has first-handedly observed the generosity of Cleborn and Anabelle and hopes the community will rise up, come together and aid in this dire time and help their daughter, Rhonda, get the operation she is so desperately in need of.

“Please think of what you would do in the face of such a situation. We appeal to your charitable hearts,” the minister said. “All funds will be devoted to the payment of all medical expenses and Rhonda’s care. There is an immediate need for the funds. Please search your hearts and do whatever you are able. There are no words to adequately thank each of you for your generosity. I can only imagine if it were my child, my wife or my mother.”



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