As the barbecue smoke wafted over the trees at Zick's Great Outdoors Nursery & Landscaping Co., local people gathered last month to honor their friend who lost his life to leukemia. Every year, they call their event the "Bandana Bash."
(See article published prior to event: Fight Leukemia: Bandana Bash 2011)
“One-hundred percent of the food for the Bash was donated,” said Mike Hallahan, a Wildwood resident who is one of the founders of the event. In addition to the donated foods, hundreds of other donations meant that more funds can be targeted for cancer research and help for cancer victims.
A command center was housed in a motorhome the volunteers pulled alongside the wood-fired cooker. As Hallahan checked on the whole hog in the cooker, preparing for the evening’s barbecue, he said, “We put this in last night about midnight. It takes about 14 hours to cook a hog this size.”
Hallahan is a member of a group called H.O.G.Z. (an acronym of the names of the founders). Since 2001, this group has raised more than $60,000 for charity.
Before dying in February of 2010, Todd Zick, son of Doug Zick, created a foundation called Leukemia 24/7. The money they raise is targeted for cancer research—going to Friends of Kids with Cancer, Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation, Washington University School of Medicine, Missouri Baptist Cancer Research Center and DKMS Americas, the world’s largest bone marrow center.
One of Todd’s biggest legacies was organizing bone marrow donor drives and making it possible for young people to be tested for free. The top donor age for most bone marrow registries is 55 or 60, making it even more important that young people become tested and listed on the registries.
Even though a donor match was found for Todd, he lost the battle against cancer. But more and more people are surviving leukemia, and thanks to efforts like the Bandana Bash, hopefully a cure will be found.