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Perham area native, father of four struggling with heart problems; community called on for help

Michael Brown, a native of the Perham and Richville areas, has been struggling with heart problems for years. The 35-year-old husband and father of four is currently stuck in a state of limbo with his medical treatments, without the funds needed to be tested and treated at Mayo Clinic. Desperate to help, his niece has started a benefit account in his name and is putting out a plea to the community. Submitted photo

The niece of a Perham area native is making a plea to the community to help her uncle get some immediate medical attention for what she says is a mysterious heart condition.

Michael Brown and his wife, Carla, and a four-year-old daughter were stuck in Rochester, Minn. as of Friday, without the funds to pay for needed tests and treatment at the Mayo Clinic, according to an email to the Focus sent by Brown’s niece, Rita Alaniz.

Though the Browns have two doctors’ referrals to Mayo, the family’s health insurance considers Mayo out-of-network and may not okay Michael’s case for coverage, Michael said during a brief telephone interview on Friday.

Until or unless the family can come up with a $5,000 payment, Mayo’s hands are tied and Michael may not be able to receive any further care there, Alaniz wrote. Unfortunately, between previous medical bills and other related expenses, the family is not in the financial position to cover that down payment out of pocket right now.

In the meantime, “they are sitting with no hope and in a motel, broke and feeling down,” Alaniz wrote. “His (Michael’s) heart is in bad shape and he is so unhealthy at this point, I don’t know what to do.”

According to Alaniz, 35-year-old Michael has had five heart surgeries in the last four years, and there’s a good chance that he’ll need another surgery soon. She said doctors have told the family that Michael’s condition “is a mystery,” and even after the multiple surgeries he is still having serious breathing problems and irregular heartbeats.

“He is a young dad that has a rare thing going on,” wrote Alaniz. “Mike wakes up in the middle of the night holding his chest with fear and his heartbeat way out of pattern. He gets pale and his heart will stop and then beat after a while, but not like ours does.”

Alaniz is hoping the generosity of Michael’s friends and others in the community can help the Browns come up with the money needed to get her uncle’s care underway now, before the holidays.

“My niece is really persistent; it’s new for me to ask for help,” said Michael. “I just really appreciate everything that everybody’s doing.”

Michael grew up in the Perham and Richville area, and currently resides with his wife and their four children in Detroit Lakes.

Those who would like to help may make a donation toward the family’s medical costs. An account has been set up under the name of Michael P. Brown at Central Minnesota Credit Union in Perham. Donations may be made in person or mailed to P.O. Box 399, Perham MN, 56573.

With questions or for more information, contact Michael at 218-371-1294.

Marie Johnson

Marie Johnson joined the Perham Focus more than five years ago, and has since worn many hats as writer, editor and page designer. She lives in rural Frazee with her husband, Dan, their one-year-old son, Simon, and their yellow lab, Louisa. 

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