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$pinach for Popeye benefit Saturday at The Shamrock

June 17, 2015
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

As soon as islanders got word of local humanitarian Mike "Popeye" Dearden's medical emergency scare months ago, they've been busy planning and organizing a great benefit to help offset his piling medical costs. We are now in the final days before the benefit, dubbed $pinach for Popeye," taking place Saturday, June 20, at the Shamrock Irish Pub, 2201 Estero Blvd., from noon to 6 p.m., and everything is coming along wonderfully.

Volunteers have been raising their hands to help however they can, and several local businesses and islanders have been donating a wealth of goods and services to add to the many wonderful silent auctions and raffles taking place that day, including two week-long stays at prominent Costa Rican getaways and more.

Live music from several phenomenally talented musicians will reign from the stage that afternoon, featuring Bryce and Joe of The Oysters, from 2 to 4 p.m., The Trips (with Patrick McGuire), from 4 to 6 p.m., and Frank Thompson and friends, opening the show at noon. Also look forward to special musical guests sitting in, including Jo and Mark List and others.

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For those who raise an appetite while raising funds, don't worry. Booba will be rocking the BBQ that day, serving up plenty of tasty treats from the grill.

"We'd like to give a special thanks to Mike and the crew from the Shamrock for generously donating the stage and venue for the event, and we're so grateful for the help of the community for our dear friend Popeye," said Keri Hendry Weeg, member of the benefit-planning trio who put all of this together, along with Robin Curley and Mike VonPlinsky.

"Of the many, many things Popeye's done for the community and for others over the years, I really, really saw first-hand up close and personal during my benefit at the Lighthouse, what this man can accomplish, with the help of the community, and we want this to be the biggest benefit we can make for him," Robin said.

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Those planning to attend should consider bringing a beach chair, as this is sure to be a packed event and we want everyone to be as comfortable as possible while raising funds for this great island local.

As for how Popeye feels about all of this wonderful support from his fellow islanders, "I am so honored and humbled by the support I'm receiving from my friends and community. 'Beach Love' is a powerful thing, as the people prove to me every year with Popeyepalooza. I cannot thank everybody enough."

Speaking of Popeyepalooza, Popeye and the local community managed to make the recent sixth annual benefit the most successful one to date, raising almost $6,000 for youth sports on the island.

Since his medical scare a couple months ago, Popeye is now on the path to recovery. "I'll be treating my condition with medication for a year, after which they'll do more tests. If the meds can reverse the condition, I'll be able to put partial closure on it," he said. "This can also serve to make people aware. Something as seemingly mundane as reflux disease can lead to more serious conditions. Early diagnosis and treatment are important. As with everything, following doctor's orders is essential."

If interested in making any type of donation for the benefit, contact Keri, 239-994-8897; prize/donation pick-ups are available during a great part of the day. If interested in volunteering during the benefit, or to help pick up donations prior, call Robin, 239-265-6552.

A Facebook Event page has been created for the benefit and all are encouraged to go online, RSVP and invite their friends. "Please invite others from your Facebook network so we get a great turnout not only good for Popeye but will make for an excellent party," Mike VonPlinsky said.

For further information, visit the benefit's Facebook page by searching "$pinach for Popeye."

To make a tax-deductible donation prior to the fund-raiser through the Florida Helps Foundation, go to



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