Items from two popular television shows highlight a huge day of events June 22 as part of a benefit for Samantha Riggs, the 10-year-old girl from Cana who received a heart transplant in April.
Riggs, lovingly deemed a “warrior princess” by her family, had been awaiting a new heart since she was airlifted in December of last year to Duke Children’s Hospital in Durham, N.C. after she was diagnosed with the rare condition myocarditus, an inflammation and weakening of the heart muscle caused by a virus.
Proceeds from the event, titled Samantha’s Heart Benefit Bingo Fest, will go to Samantha’s Heart to help her family with medical bills and other needs, such as the replacement of all carpet in the family’s home, which can collect germs and dust and are not healthy for Samantha. The floors also must be replaced with a laminate or vinyl material.
Jessica Talley of Twin County Funerals said Samantha’s story touched her and her co-workers so much they came up with the idea of the Bingo Fest, which is sponsored by Twin County Funerals, the Carroll County Recreation Department and the Hillsville VFW Post 1115.
“This event will be even greater now that we get to have it for her and she has her heart. It will almost be like a celebration event for her,” Talley said. “The finances and that end of it still goes on. Even though she has her heart, we know there is medication and things the family will still have to buy. There is still a lot to be paid and done. It is exciting for us to be able to help her and we want it to be a celebration fest now that she has her heart.”
A Women’s Breakfast Bingo, a Sportsmans Bingo, a hot dog lunch, and music by Stevie Barr and Friends will be part of the day of celebration. Highlighting the event will be a silent auction that so far features an autographed duck call by the cast of popular TV show Duck Dynasty, a miniature moonshine still built by Jim Tom of television show Moonshiners, as well as four t-shirts autographed by Jim Tom.
Raffle tickets are also available for $10 each for a trio of firearms. The top item to be raffled off is a Henry Golden Boy .22 Magnum, second place is an H&R 12-gauge shotgun, and third place is a Chiappa .22 long revolver. All three items are currently on display at the Hillsville Gun Shop. Raffle tickets can be purchased at the Hillsville VFW, the Carroll County Rec Department or Twin County Funerals.
Samantha’s Heart Benefit Bingo Fest will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 22 at the Hillsville VFW Post 1115. The day begins with the Women’s Breakfast Bingo from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (registration from 9-10 a.m.). Brand-name items such as 31, Scentsy, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, and Premier Jewelry highlight the event. A $40 ticket includes pancake breakfast from 9-10 a.m., 20 game cards, two bonus game cards, and two door prize tickets. Additional bingo and bonus games cards and door prize tickets will be available, as well as other concessions.
Talley and organizers are particularly excited about the Sportsman Bingo, which takes place from 1-3 p.m. (registration from 12-1 p.m.). Something new to the area, the Sportsman Bingo will feature fishing and hunting equipment, such as gun and bow accessories, tree stands, Mossy Oak items, and hunting blinds, as prizes. A $40 ticket gets you 20 game cards, two bonus games cards, and five door prize tickets.
“There will be 22 games played at each bingo, so you have plenty of chances to win. We have so many door prizes that will be given out,” Talley said. “The biggest thing is these men are going to be really excited about this because we have so many men that are interested in camping and participating.”
At 4 p.m., Stevie Barr & Friends will be in concert to round out the evening. Tickets are $5 for the show, and concessions will be available.
Talley said organizers are working on securing other major items for the silent auction that can’t be announced yet. Regardless, she has been astounded by how the community has stepped up to help Riggs and her family.
“It has been amazing what the community has given. We are really thankful for that. Every business is stepping up and donating things, restaurants, gas stations, businesses, organizations - it’s been amazing how they are stepping up for this little girl,” Talley said.
Stephanie Rinehart, Funeral Director at Twin County Funerals, said many businesses in Hillsville and Galax have donated prizes, door prizes and silent auction items.
“We are really excited about it. We’ve had a lot of response from the community,” Rinehart said. “We’re hoping the community will come out and support the Riggs family and this event. She is healing but the family still needs a lot of financial support, so we are really excited about the event. “
Rinehart said items donated range from gift cards to crock ware to jewelry. Additional items are welcome for donations, she said, adding that everything needs to be in by June 7. Organizers also ask that donations be delivered to one of the three sponsors. Make sure to include a business card or a way to be reached to be represented in the program for the event. Organizers for the event will also be set up June 1 at the Gospel Cruise-In in Hillsville, where raffle tickets may be purchased.
“It will be a really fun afternoon,” Rinehart said. “We know this will be a great event for this family and we are really excited about giving back to them.”