Helping Neighbor Bill

Costa Mesa mechanic Bill Thomas is a really good guy. He's a loving, 40-year-old husband and father of two kids (Keoni, 3, and Makaio, 6 months). And dude's ripped, having been an active surfer, skier and motorcycle rider. I'd see him outside on his way to visit his dad every couple months, and I can't remember a time when he wasn't smiling and upbeat. Then, on January 30, he suffered a stroke in his spine and ultimately had to be airlifted to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia, one of the few places on the planet that treats his rare condition, which has left him paralyzed from the neck down and requires he be on a respirator. It remains unclear how "Neighbor Bill," as his friends call him, was injured, but it is absolutely certain that he and his family can in no way afford the treatment that he's undergone and still faces. A Wednesday night wing-ding with music, entertainment, raffles and a silent auction is being held to help defray costs. A later casino night is also in the works. If you can't attend, check out the website that's been created to get the word out and consider donating whatever you can. Why help a total stranger? Because it could have been you, and a guy like Bill Thomas would have done the same for you.

Benefit for Bill Thomas in the Harborside Grand Ballroom at the Balboa Pavilion, 400 Main St., Balboa, (714) 856-7856.; Wed., 6-11 p.m. Free.


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