Carnival Fundraiser for Ventura Family

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By Tim Pompey

George Replogle

It was just a normal school day for 16-year-old George Replogle. A junior at Ventura High School, he boarded his bus on a sunny September afternoon and prepared for the ride home.

The one exception was that George has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and is confined to a wheelchair. Unfortunately, on that bus ride home, he wasn’t properly secured in his chair. When the bus came to a sudden stop, George was catapulted out of his chair and seriously injured.

His father, John Replogle, and his stepmother, Rachel Sedacca-Replogle, received a call and hurried to the scene in downtown Ventura on Poli Street. When they arrived, the paramedics were struggling to get him out of the bus.

He was rushed to Ventura County Medical Center, where things grew even more complicated. His heart rate accelerated, and his blood pressure dropped. He was quickly airlifted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

The diagnosis: Both his leg femurs were broken. As a result of the femur damage, he also developed a condition called fat embolism syndrome which clogs up the lungs and heart and showers the brain with fat cells.

To save his life, the doctors decided to put George on an advanced form of life support called ECMO for three days. The result of his injuries included brain damage from the shower of fat emboli to his system. He was also diagnosed with a tiny hole in the heart. He spent nearly two months at the hospital recovering.

Last week, John and Rachel were finally able to bring him home, but George requires 24/7 care. The Replogle family is currently working to secure proper nursing.

John and Rachel have been married for four years and share custody of George and little sister Emily. They live on the west side of Ventura.

At age seven, George was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and was confined to a wheelchair at age nine.

“It’s very similar to ALS,” said Rachel, “and it almost exclusively strikes young boys.”

Still, John and Rachel worked to ensure George had a normal life.

“George doesn’t have developmental disabilities,” she said. “He has special needs because he’s handicapped, but he was still able to write. He got good grades. He loves history. He had a lot of friends. We tried to get him the most typical life possible despite the challenges of having muscular dystrophy.”

While George is covered by insurance, the impact and the cost to his family have been severe.

John, who works as a mechanic, admitted that “I’ve got a business on the Avenue I’ve lost.”

While George was at UCLA, the family stayed in the Westwood area for nearly two months.

“We lived down there at Air B & Bs and hotels,” said Rachel. “He was in ICU for seven weeks.”

John and Rachel had to be trained to care for George, the same as any nurse who would handle him.

“They have to put you in training,” Rachel explained, “because, before you can take George home, whether you have a nurse or not, you’re still taking on a whole new level, and if there’s no nurse around, you will have to take care of that child.”

Rachel is well-known in Ventura County as a singer/songwriter.

“I’ve been doing music professionally for 18 years,” she said. She released two albums and is ready to finish a third.

She used to travel around the country in a school bus nicknamed Patience. She’s taken international trips to Japan and Belize. She sold the bus because it was not accessible for George. The family is now refurbishing an old commercial bus nicknamed Grace and hopes to tour around the country with George and family.

The Replogles were connected through mutual friends to Pastor Paul Bergmann and his family at the Ojai Valley Community Church.

As a result, a carnival-themed benefit will be held at the church on Sunday, November 11 from 12:00 to 8:00 p.m. The benefit will help raise funds to support George’s family. There is no cost for entry. The carnival will include games, food, silent auction, raffle, henna body art and a “get well card creation station” to encourage George.

Music will be provided by local friends and acquaintances, including Josh Bergmann, Brion Shearer, Brothers & Sisters, Topa Time Travelers, 50 Sticks of Dynamite, Fish Fry and Rachel Sedacca’s own band, Scarlet Fire & Friends.

As for George, the Replogles know they have a long road ahead. As Rachel remarked: “The benefit/fundraiser is to support our family during George’s recovery, because it could be three months, it could be six months, it could be up to a year and we’ve had to set aside everything else in our life. He is still basically on life support and we’re caring for him at home.”

Ojai Valley Community Church is located at 907 El Centro Street in Ojai. For additional information, contact Michel Miller at (805) 258-8202. The Replogles also have a gofundme page set up.

Photo Credits: Tim Pompey


Tim Pompey, a freelance writer who has done lots of local affairs and entertainment/cultural writing, lives in Oxnard. Tim is also a fiction writer (Facebook Page). You can learn about his books on Amazon.com: amazon.com/author/booksbytimpompey.

Mr. Pompey’s Newest Book:  Mrs. Parsley and the Tale of Mossel’s Farm

Mrs. Parsley loves to tell stories to children. In her little house in Okafor, Florida, she writes them herself. Then, in a twist from her own past, Mrs. Parsley and her young friend Terence go on an adventure to rescue children held captive at the Mossel’s farm deep in the Big Cypress Swamp. Down the Blue Pole Road, across the Midnight Ferry, past the Milky White Magnolia Trail, and through the Crossing of the Gnome, magic, danger, and a wee bit of fun await them as they carry out their mission. Who will travel with Mrs. Parsley as she reclaims her past and discovers a new future—for Terence, for the captured children, for herself?

Mrs. Parsley and the Tale of Mossel’s Farm On Amazon


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