Sandy Gould calls the fundraisers in honor of her son, Jason, "very gratifying" because she knows they have provided new hope to leukemia patients who previously didn't have much positive news to embrace.
Jason Gould lived in Elburn most of his life and worked at the family's apple cider mill before attending Northern Illinois University and graduating with a teaching degree.
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He was a 36-year-old fifth-grade teacher in the Oswego school district when he passed away in 2006 from a viral complication following a transplant for leukemia, Sandy Gould said.
For the past three years, the family and a committee called Friends of Jason Gould have held Jason's Hogfan Party to raise money for leukemia and lymphoma research. This year's event takes place Sept. 8 at the St. Charles Moose Lodge.
"It's been a wonderful event for people to attend because they can see what our money is doing," Sandy said.
Last year the event raised $20,000 for the research of Dr. Rob Baiocchi, the lead cancer researcher from the Ohio State University Cancer Research Center. Baiocchi will again be the guest speaker at this year's event.
In addition to hearing about how the fundraiser helps aid research, those in attendance will hear from a living example of the work that the Hogfan Party supports.
Dr. Trent Tipple, a 36-year-old pediatrician, survived the same type of viral lymphoma that Jason battled, Sandy said.
Baiocchi and his medical team created a new treatment for this cancer, with Tipple being one of the first survivors because of it.
"This is a cancer treatment for brain tumors, and people who were previously told they had only two months to live, are now surviving," Sandy added. "It is wonderful to hear about the research and treatments."
And what about the Hogfan name?
Even though Jason attended NIU, he grew to love the sports teams at the University of Arkansas, where his father graduated, Sandy said.
The Goulds would love to see more people get involved in or attend the event. Those interested in making donations or learning more about the event can contact Sandy at (630) 267-6374. Donations can also be made on Jason's website at friendsofjasongould.com.
In good hands: If you listen to the windbags in Congress enough, you'd be convinced our country is on a course of certain doom.
But then you hear about a young person like 12-year-old Alyssa Jacobsen of Batavia who was one of 11 kids from the Chicago area to earn a $1,000 scholarship from the Kohl's Cares program.
It helps you realize we'll be in good hands in the future.
Alyssa was one of 200 youths nationwide, chosen from 35,000 nominees, to receive the scholarship based on "making a positive impact in their local communities." After seeing the devastation Joplin, Mo., endured from tornadoes last year, Alyssa convinced her family to change Florida vacation plans to instead travel to Joplin to provide help.
She raised enough funds to fill 30 backpacks with stuffed animals and school supplies that she gave to children in Joplin. She also helped efforts to distribute food and water.
Now, can we convince Alyssa to think about running for Congress in the future?
Will odds change?: Another round of excitement, if that term even fits this situation any longer, is unfolding regarding the potential opening of the Golden Corral restaurant in Batavia. As most residents know, the shell of the restaurant has been sitting at the Randall Road and Main Street corner for nearly five years. Most recently, the parking lot served as a holding area for Randall Road construction equipment. Otherwise, the property has provided no discernible benefit to the city.
Now, franchise owner Sam Gibson is talking about opening the site in September. He has made similar comments numerous times in the past, so Vegas oddsmakers likely wouldn't budge on this. They'd still say the odds of such an opening date are not good.
Share mall ideas: Have any suggestions about what should happen with the Charlestowne Mall in the future?
If so, your voice should be heard at 7 p.m. Aug. 9 in the St. Charles City Council chambers when a "visioning workshop" for the mall will take place.
From where I sit, figuring out a way to save Charlestowne Mall borders on impossible. Another concept or use for that site has to be considered. You don't want to rule out the movie complex, which seems to do fairly well, but it's tough to envision anything else making sense there.
Sadly, it might be time to admit St. Charles doesn't take kindly to malls. The St. Charles Mall on the city's west side, long ago knocked down and the site still not in use, would serve as exhibit A. The former Piano Factory mall near downtown, also long ago reduced to rubble to make way for the Brownstone townhouses, represents exhibit B. That makes Charlestowne Mall exhibit C.
Tee it up next year?: It was too bad that the annual Matt Kenney 3-on-3 basketball tournament in Geneva had to take a year off. Apparently not enough teams signed up, but who's really thinking about basketball in this heat?
But how about golf? Organizer Sean McCurtain said it is possible the friends of the former Geneva High School student and athlete who died in a car accident at age 21 many years ago are now contemplating a golf outing instead of banging around inside of a gymnasium during a hot summer.
To complicate matters a bit, Geneva High School was putting a fresh coat of sealant on the basketball court last weekend, so the timing wasn't too great this year. Even if enough teams signed up, McCurtain may have been scrambling to find a place to play.
Kenney's older sister, Patti Reeder, came through in convincing friends to attend a fundraising portion of the event by gathering at Old Towne Pub & Eatery last Saturday night. The festivities raised $4,800, McCurtain said, so that $1,000 scholarships in Kenney's memory could be given to two Geneva High athletes -- Mark Becker and Rachel Hinchman.