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About two decades after he graduated from Baker High School, Brandon Schmidt is in Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles waiting for a heart transplant.

It will be his second.

He is also waiting for a visit by his mother and other family members because visitation is not permitted under California’s current COVID-19 rules.

While he is hospitalized, a family friend has started a fundraiser online to help the family with expenses.

Jim Schaefer said he started more than a month ago and quickly met the goal of raising $5,000. In fact, that happened so quickly that Schaefer increased the target to $10,000.

“I’ve known him since he was about seven and moved to Baker,” Schaefer recalled. “He was a good kid. He was very active in school and was a good athlete.

“He is the son of Roger Schmidt who lived in Baker for about 14 or 15 years before he died. First he (Roger) was a banker. Then he became the county planner. He was responsible for developing the 9-1-1 system and the GPS (Global Positioning Satellite). He set that all up and he was really instrumental in getting a lot of things done in Baker. If you ever have been over to the amphitheater, you will see it was named after Roger,” Schaefer added. “He was the one who got the grant to get it done. It was just a community-oriented guy.”

Brandon moved to Florida several years ago because he found out had a congenital heart problem, Schaefer explained. “Florida was the best place to go at the time for a heart transplant.

“He got his transplant and he was doing okay for a while, but he had his ups and downs. Things seemed to be going pretty good, but about four months ago things started going haywire. They told him he was going to have to have a second heart transplant.”

“They said his best chance, because of all of the complications, was to move to California.”

The 38-year old Schmidt responded to the fundraising effort on his own Facebook page.

“It will help so much with family having to travel, my mother and I having to be displaced on top of all of medical expenses that go into these complicated medical problems. I appreciate all of the help and am always humbled looking at the list of everyone that is so kind and generous to even donate a small amount. Not only does it help defray costs, it truly helps me to see people that care enough to pitch in any hard earned money, especially in these very difficult times,” he said in a post he put online June 3.

Schmidt had been living in St. Augustine but needed to make the move to California because it provided the best opportunity for getting a new heart, Schaefer explained Sunday.

Brandon had to leave his wife behind in St. Augustine, according to Schaefer.

His mother is now in California with her sister. Diana works at the Fallon County Library in Baker. “But she hasn’t been able to visit him because of the quarantine still taking place in California. She is going to have living expenses in California, so I started the Facebook fundraising thing with an original goal of $5,000.”

“We reached that pretty quickly so I raised it to $10,000 and the last I looked, we had raised about $8,800. That would help her get along for a fair bit,” Schaefer explained. By Sunday night, the total had climbed to nearly $9,500.”

“We are waiting to see when Brandon will be able to get a new heart again.”

“The important thing is that Brandon needs all the help that he can get... and also his mom,” Schaefer added. His mother left her job at the library so that she could be there in California with her son, the family friend said.

For Schmidt, it will be the second heart transplant.

In 2017, his heart was operating at only 11 percent when he went to Billings, then the University of Utah for treatment.

“Brandon is a passionate, patriotic young man who has bravely become a self-appointed advocate for health care issues. He’ll be going through this ordeal without his wife, his mother, or either of his sisters there to lend moral support. I know these are tough times for many of us, but even small donations can become a huge help to this fine young man. Please help if you can!

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