Community Puts on Spaghetti Fundraiser for Fargo Woman Battling Severe Illness

Diana Emerson is recovering after needing a new kidney and liver


FARGO, N.D. — Even on the rough days, Diana Emerson always knew how to get Sandy Brakke to crack a smile.

“She’s got a good sense of humor. Very witty and you could be having the worst day and she’ll say something and everything is just that much better,” Brakke said.

But in March, Emerson didn’t have the energy to tell as many jokes.

“She became so weak that she did all she could to get from point A to point B,” Brakke said.

“I needed a new kidney and liver due to some complications from a gastric bypass 15 years ago, did dialysis three days a week and was put on a transplant list after some evaluation at the University of Minnesota,” Emerson said.

Two weeks later, Emerson got the call there was a donor who could give her both.

“It’s a gift from God she got her double transplant. We didn’t know what the future was holding for so we’re just grateful for everybody,” Brakke said.

While both transplants were successful, doctors have to do lab work on Emerson twice a week and she says she can’t work until she gets the green light from doctors at the University of Minnesota.

That’s why Brakke thought proceeds from a silent auction and a little spaghetti would be able to help her friend out.

“It took a while because it’s all from scratch.  So it’s the best kind? Oh yeah. There’s nothing store bought about it. Diana is always the first person to help anybody else out, whether it’s making a meal, organizing something at work. She’s on the frontlines and she’s got a big heart,” Brakke said.

“I try to be there for people in need, for friends, family, whatever and to see that they can turn around and come back and reach out to me in this situation is phenomenal,” Emerson said.

But above all, Brakke says it’s nice to see her friend finally get back to her normal life again.

“She’s getting that humor back,” Brakke said.

Brakke is hoping to raise $5,000 for Emerson by the end of the fundraiser.

Lend a Hand will match 20 percent of the proceeds raised.

Categories: Community, Health, Local News, Minnesota News, Moorhead, North Dakota News