Members of the South Lake County Regional Community Emergency Response Team are hosting a pancake breakfast Sunday, May 18, to benefit a Lake Zurich Army veteran diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Pancake breakfast chair Kathy Schildkraut said the seventh annual all-you-can-eat gathering will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lake Zurich Fire Department Station No. 1, 321 S. Buesching Road. Cost is $5 per person; free for kids 3 and younger.
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Schildkraut said Community Emergency Response Team is committed to donating a portion of the day's proceeds to 25-year-old Army veteran Steven Gabriel, who served in Iraq from 2009 to 2010.
Gabriel, his wife and the couple's two young children have been living with his mother in Lake Zurich since the terminal cancer diagnosis in March, Schildkraut said. Gabriel is fighting metastatic cancer involving his esophagus, stomach and liver, according to his family.
Schildkraut said Gabriel completed the local volunteer response team training in 2006 at age 18, attended College of Lake County and joined the Army in 2007.
Gabriel's family moved to Lake Zurich in 2004. He played on Lake Zurich High School's soccer and lacrosse teams and graduated in 2006.
"I have been a friend of this (Gabriel) family since this young man and my son became friends at the age of 16," she said.
After his discharge from the Army, Gabriel married his wife, Ashli, on Jan. 23, 2010, and lived in Shelbyville, Ind., where they started a family. The couple has two boys, 2½-year-old Steven Andrew Gabriel Jr. and 1-year-old Zachariah Isaak Gabriel.
His family expressed gratitude to the community in a letter for various kind acts. For example, response team members, local police officers and firefighters were outside Gabriel's mother's home to welcome him after he recently returned from a hospital stay.
"Steve would ... like to thank the continuing support of friends and family, as their continuing support has aided his family through these trying times," the letter says.
As for the fundraiser, the menu will have pancakes, sausage, juice, Starbucks coffee and more. There also will be a large sports memorabilia auction, raffles, music, silent auction, fire prevention skits, antique fire truck rides and other activities.
Schildkraut said money raised from the breakfast will help defray Gabriel's medical costs and go toward the future education of his sons.
The volunteer first responders help police and fire departments in Lake Zurich, Hawthorn Woods, Kildeer and Long Grove. Schildkraut said the group assisted authorities during last year's Lake Zurich flood.
With state grants no longer available, she said, the volunteer response team must raise money on its own. She said the pancake breakfast typically has drawn about 1,000 guests.
For more information about the May 18 breakfast, contact (847) 208-1621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schildkraut said those wishing to donate to Gabriel's family may send checks to US Bank, 1586 Rand Road, Palatine, IL 60074. Checks should be payable to Steven Gabriel.