Community rallies around brewery owner fighting life-changing disease

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Wilmington community is rallying around one of its own who is currently in the hospital fighting a serious disease.

Mark Mueller is a staple of downtown Wilmington as part-owner of Waterline Brewing company. WWAY spoke with his wife Kimberly, who has known Mark since the two were in high school.

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“We just had our ten year anniversary this year which was amazing, despite COVID,” she said.

Last week, Mueller wasn’t feeling well and went to the hospital. He was unexpectedly diagnosed with advanced liver disease and admitted to the ICU.

“We know he’s a fighter,” Kimberly Mueller said. “He’s a Navy veteran and he’s strong and resilient and we know he’s going to fight as hard as he can.”

Close friend Brianna Leone says Mueller was there for her when she was in need and she wanted to return the favor.

“During Florence I was at the hospital and he hung out and checked on our house, he’s been willing to come let our dog out” she said. “Around town, any time we go out with him people love him, he’s a really great guy with a huge heart.”

Leone had the idea to start a GoFundMe page.

“It’s been crazy, in just two days we’ve raised, we’re almost at $15,000 at this point which is huge,” she said. “But in comparison to an ICU stay is a drop in the bucket, really.”

At the time this article was written, the fundraiser had reached $15,475.

Kimberly Mueller says hearing from someone who’s been through this before would also be extremely helpful.

“There’s just a lot of uncertainty at this point, we don’t if he’ll need a transplant, we’re assuming that he will,” She said. “And so we don’t know what that looks like, we know it’s a long road ahead.”

In addition to monetary donations, Mueller says the community support is greatly appreciated.

“We really think honestly all the outpouring of love has been what’s helping him get this far because he’s done really well in the last week just in that sense and improving so far so we’re just hopeful that it stays that way,” she said.

Click here for the GoFundMe page.

Click here to contribute meals to the family.