Concert to benefit Thomasville resident

Community unites to help family
Aug. 07, 2013 @ 08:24 PM

Doctors, nurses and chaplains concede what they believe to be imminent: the death of a fighter.

Fortunately for Mindi Swaney, there are hundreds of people who believe in her will to live, chief of whom is Mindi herself. To raise money for her growing medical costs, Praise 2 Life Music Academy will present a benefit concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, in the T. Austin Finch Auditorium, uniting more than 88 voices from local church choirs for Project Provision.

"She's done a lot of positive things for herself. She's still very sick," said Kathy Swaney, Mindi's mother. "She's had an eating disorder for 18 years. What has kept her alive so far is prayer and strong will on her part. When she first had the portacath for [kidney dialysis], they didn't think she'd live through that. Mindi said, 'No offense, and I know you all are good, but I know why. I've got a lot of people praying for me.'"

The story of the 32-year-old has inspired a number of her congregational members at Richfork Baptist Church to rally community support. Melanie Byerly, a member at Richfork, owns Praise 2 Life Music Academy and knew Mindi Swaney's love for music. She discovered a way to help her friend and unite Thomasville with the use of her gifts.

She and her husband, Todd, began recruiting individuals to join the choir and businesses to support the project.

"It's been like summer camp for adults," Byerly said, laughing. "Everybody's having a good time. The music is very worshipful. The first set of songs that we're going to do that evening is all about God's provision for us and how he cares for us, even in the difficult times. Several people said we're going to be in major withdrawals when this is over."

Several local businesses are sponsoring the event to help cover cost, allowing all proceeds to go to Mindi Swaney. She was recently transferred to the N.C. Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill, where she undergoes dialysis three times a week for three hours per session. Ultimately, Mindi Swaney will need  a kidney transplant.

"We've been in Chapel Hill since May 28," said Kathy Swaney, whose husband Steve co-owns Monkeez Brew with Mindi. "The customers who are faithful and come every day take turns sweeping and cleaning. They say don't worry about it; we've got it. It's just a small town. We're like family here."

Project Provision T-shirts and coffee mugs will be on sale at the event. Admission the day of the event will be granted with a suggested $5 donation at the door.

Staff Writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 888-3575, or