P-A Club hosts benefit Saturday for Corly Maciel

Corly Maciel and his son, Denver. — Photo courtesy of Neal Maciel

Friends and family of Corliss “Corly” Maciel of Vineyard Haven will gather at the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs Saturday to benefit the well-known Island plumber.

Mr. Maciel suffered a stroke on December 17, 2012. He spent more than 100 days in the hospital and continues to receive out-patient care, as well as speech and physical therapy. The event kicks off with dinner at 4:30 pm and includes a live auction and 50/50 raffle. Admission is $15.

Born and raised on Martha’s Vineyard, Mr. Maciel has been a plumber for more than 30 years, and he runs his own business. He told The Times this week he has been unable to work or drive since the stroke, which affected the right side of his body. He lost the use of his right hand, and although he regained some of the function in his right leg, he must use a cane. Fortunately, he said, he is left-handed.

Mr. Maciel said the stroke also crushed his plans to attend his son Denver’s graduation from Marine Corps boot camp in late December. However, Denver later visited him in the hospital, dressed in uniform. Private First Class Maciel is currently stationed in California. Mr. Maciel said his son and stepdaughter, Emma Beach Green, have been very supportive.

Funds raised for Mr. Maciel will help with some of his living expenses, travel costs for medical appointments off Island, and the purchase of two medical devices. Mr. Maciel said the devices will provide electrical stimulation to activate and contract muscles in his right arm and right leg, to help him use his hand and walk. He estimated the cost of both units at about $15,000.

“My loss of independence and lack of income are the hardest to deal with,” Mr. Maciel told The Times in a phone conversation Monday. “I was self-employed and independent, and didn’t have to rely on anybody. All the everyday activities you take for granted, at one time or another, I had to re-learn how to do.”

Mr. Maciel said he has been blessed with help, care, and support from many good friends and his family. He credits his brother Neal, a former State Police Island Command and Registry of Motor Vehicles inspector, with saving his life by getting him to the hospital the night he had the stroke. Neal and his wife, Marilyn, have also taken him into their home to live while he recovers.

Mr. Maciel said his friend Wade Sonnenberg kept him company for 47 days while he was in Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, and continues to spend countless hours helping him with strength training and exercise in the Mansion House Inn’s swimming pool.

Mr. Maciel said his biggest goal is to be able to return to live in his own home. He realizes, though, it will be a long process. “It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon,” he said.

Despite all he has been through, Mr. Maciel said he saw a lot of other stroke victims who were worse off than he while undergoing treatment at the Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital. “I’ve very lucky,” he said.

“Please come join us and show a native what it is like to be a part of this amazing community,” organizer Olivia Law-Butler said in an email to The Times.

For more information about Saturday’s event, call 508-326-9430 or email goofproofers@gmail.com.

For those unable to attend who might like to make a donation, Ms. Law-Butler suggests sending a check made out to Corly Maciel to 101 Pond View Drive, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.