HUNTERSVILLE – When Cindy Young, of Independence Hill Baptist, approached her pastor, Todd Marlin, about organizing a fundraiser to help with his daughter’s medical expenses, he was not sure he felt comfortable with the idea.

“Pastor Marlin never wants it to be about him,” Young said. “But I told him, ‘This isn’t about you.’”

It is about his daughter, Carter, who is 4 years old. Marlin and his wife, Tanya, adopted Carter from China in 2012, and she has many spinal cord issues, including diastematomyelia, in which a bone splits the spinal cord. In January, surgeons at Duke removed the bone.

The bills from the surgery are still coming in, and Carter will need other surgery as she grows.

Young and the adult Sunday school class, Builders and Believers, began putting together a fundraising lasagna dinner to help with the bills. Then other Sunday school classes asked to help. One class began organizing a bake sale, and another, a live auction. Marlin’s two teenage daughters will be auctioning their babysitting services.

One member of the Builders and Believers class, Libby Gant, also thought it would be great to have a concert by a bluegrass gospel band she’d heard, the Cockman Family. They offered to waive their fees and come for just the cost of travel expenses.

“Carter has been adopted by the whole church,” Young said. “Her adoption – the process that Todd and Tanya had to go through to get her – she’s a miracle child. And our church feels that. So we just want to support her in any way that we can.”


Want to help? The community is invited to the lasagna dinner and bake sale, starting at 4 p.m. May 3, followed by a live auction at 6:30 p.m. and the Cockman Family bluegrass gospel concert at 7 p.m. The events will be held at Independence Hill Baptist Church, 10220 Independence Hill Road, Huntersville.