NASHUA — While Nashua resident David ‘Taz’ Yandell has battled a deadly, rare and mysterious disease, his friends have fought to help him, whether it is filing paperwork or putting together a benefit concert.
To help with his mounting medical bills, Yandell’s friend Alicia Finney put together a benefit concert that will be held May 31 at the Milford VFW. Finney initially booked a venue in Manchester, but only weeks before the concert was to take place was told the show had to be cancelled.
“It was good of the VFW to help out at the last minute,” Yandell said.
Finney, who has known Yandell since high school, said that it felt natural for her to help after all the support Yandell and his family have given her.
“He is such a kind and giving person, it is hard to see someone you care about in a situation like this. I just wanted to do everything I could to contribute and to lend a hand,” Finney said.
Yandell’s mother, Sandie Dillon, said Finney is wonderful for all the help she has given.
“I am very honored, very moved, people care enough about me to put this sort of a thing on for me. I should be able to attend,” Yandell said.
“Its comforting to know that you have friends who have your back when things go bad,” Dillon said.
Dillon added that with a number of local bands performing, she is hoping for a decent turnout, despite the sudden change in venue. Finney said that of the eight performers scheduled to play, half will play acoustic and half will play rock music.
After not being able to eat solid food for close to a year and losing 25 percent of his body weight, Yandell was recently diagnosed with Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome, a very rare gastric and vascular disorder. Dillon said that Yandell is one of roughly 500 people that have ever been diagnosed with the disease, and to top it off he also has infectious gastroparesis, a condition that consists of partial paralysis of the stomach.
Through it all, the 25-year-old Yandell has lost his job, his insurance, and close to 60 pounds. The 6-foot-1 Yandell now weighs 140 pounds and looks emaciated compared to how he looked before the disease hit, Dillon said.
Last September Yandell had what he thought was a cold, but then he started to vomit. Despite not being able to hold down solid food since October, Dillon said doctors were both baffled and incredulous.
“Some (doctors) just thought it was a cold and sent him on his way,” she said.
Finally, through a combination of doctors at the Southern New Hampshire Medical Center and Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon, Dillon said Yandell was diagnosed.
“It was a relief to get a diagnosis, but then I saw the diagnosis,” said Dillon, who added that her son’s condition has a one in three fatality rate.
However, Yandell said he remains optimistic, and that doctors have told him he should make a full recovery in 12-18 months.
“I am nowhere near solid foods yet, I need to take things slow, but it can still be discouraging,” Yandell said. “My weight gain is not as rapid as I hoped it would be, but I do expect a full recovery, I am way too optimistic to think otherwise.”
The benefit concert for Yandell will take place at the VFW in Milford on May 31. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the first band goes on at 5:30 p.m. Tickets will be made available at the door and can be purchased for $10.