On Saturday, the Boone County Cancer Society (BCCS) raised about $89,000 at its 15th annual Battle of the Barbecue.
The cooking competitors arrived as early as 7am to begin smoking the pork loins donated by 7M’s Lebanon IGA.
As hungry attendees began to line up, barbecue smoke filled the south end of Memorial Park. Although there was no official count of attendees, an estimated 2,000 to 2,500 people came to support BCCS.
“This was a record year for everything,” said BCCS Executive Director Joy Kaylor.
Kaylor said that every year she has been involved in organizing the event, she is always nervous the day before.
“I’m always sitting there at 4:30 and wondering, what if no one comes this year,” Kaylor said. “And this year, at 3:45, people were lining up to get in.”
She said there are no words to describe how grateful she is for the community’s support.
“It’s amazing how much support the cancer society gets from people everywhere,” Kaylor said. “I have volunteers coming back for their 15th year to help with the barbecue, so the amount of gratitude we have is overwhelming.”
Kaylor said the entire event is planned by herself, Erin Huse and Kathy Flannery, with the help of all her volunteers. The money raised will go to the neighbors to help them fight cancer.
“Every penny stays local,” Kaylor said. “I don’t get any funding from the American Cancer Society or any federal grants or anything. We’re funded locally, outside of fundraising and donations. It’s mind-blowing. It’s really mind-blowing.”
While some focused on the barbecue portion of the event, others participated in the second annual You’re Not Alone (YNA) walk/run, also at Memorial Park.
YNA works together with BCCS to make local residents’ fight against cancer a little easier by providing them with care packages while they go through treatment. Fundraising is also important to them, as the care packages they distribute are funded by donations.
“I felt it was a success,” said Diane Beltran, BCCS board member and founder of You’re Not Alone. “We had a lot of good feedback about it. We had people from Terre Haute, Speedway, Crawfordsville and Westfield. This year, we paid a company to have bib numbers with chips so serious racers can get their real times. I think it attracted different crowd, but we had a great turnout.”
The run raised about $13,000 to go towards the care packages they give to Witham recipients. The care packages include about 15 items including blankets, a journal, a word search puzzle, a protein drink, hat, lotion, Kleenex and other items that help people going through treatment be more comfortable.
A survivor recognition walk was something new they tried this year, honoring about 25 cancer survivors with a sash as they walk down a path with people on either side cheering them on, celebrating their success.
Beltran said she also invited nurse navigator Erin Buckles from Witham Hospital to give runners in attendance an overview of how patients feel when they receive care packages.
“It was very honest and I think it gave people an idea of where their money was going and it made it more special that she could say how touched people are when they get these care packages,” Beltran said.
The Barbecue Battle also held various cooking category competitions and a golf cart raffle. The sweet category winner was Split Ends and the runner-up was Edward Realty Group. The top winner was Up In Smoke and the runner-up was Ray’s Trash. The winners of the best nozzle category were Lawson Farms in first place with New Hope Christian Church in second place.
Brick House Barbecue took home the People’s Choice Award and Up in Smoke was Best Decorated.
Trista Gubera was the winner of the golf cart raffle.
The Zionsville Moms Against Cancer/Lady Eagles Volleyball raised the most money, earning them the title of top fundraiser. The group raised $2,110 and was also selected as the overall winner of the day.
For more information about BCCS and YNA, visit their Facebook pages @realboonecountycancersociety and @yourenotalone.leb and also the BCCS website boonecountycancersociety.org.