Fundraiser for a boy who beat leukemia but needs help beating bills
I first met 4-year old Blake Rickert at a birthday dinner for his mother about a year ago and I was impressed with his undying exuberance even though he was the only child amongst ten other adults.
I would see this precocious young man at other friend gatherings from then on, playing with toys that boys often find interesting like trucks and large construction equipment. This fellow has more texture than that as I’m told he also likes gardening, shoveling, and of course, superheros. Just about every superhero needs a sidekick. With the evil foes Blake has been fighting so far in 2014, he is looking for his Robin (Dick Grayson for purists).
It was earlier this year that Blake was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Leukemia, a rare form of cancer that is aggressive (growing in size every 14 hours) but also highly treatable. Since January he has been undergoing an aggressive treatment protocol at the American Family Childrens Hospital with very encouraging results. Recently Blake’s mother Jill announced that a bone marrow biopsy found no leukemic cells and all the tumors are gone.
I guess he has earned a newly bestowed moniker: Super Blake
Through it all Blake has been smiling and laughing his way toward being cancer free, amazing his loving parents Jill, a graphic designer, and Kevin, a Customer Service Representative with American Airlines at the Dane County Regional Airport.
Conquering cancer has a cost. While Blake’s zest for life shows he will put his struggle behind him, the inevitable financial burden is already having an impact, and two maintenance treatments still remain.
Blake’s parents have insurance to cover many of the treatments received so far but other portions of his care are both costly and not covered. This Sunday (April 27) friends of Blake and his family will hold a multi-faceted fundraiser at the Atomic Koi in Fitchburg, Wisconsin to help provide the financial support the Rickerts will need to move beyond this challenging time.
A small cadre of friends have been meeting periodically to plan the event, designing t-shirts and flyers, talking to local businesses, while also taking time to cook dinners for the Rickerts during their many long stays in the hospital.
Bidding on fantastic prizes also kills cancer
While Blake may not have prompted the entire city of San Francisco to transform into Gotham, he has motivated a lot of folks in the Madison area to help. The fundraiser will feature a silent auction and other prizes. So far 75 auction packages have been created including: Coach bags, salon certificates, movie night sets, cabin getaways, a UW tailgating experience, or a Willy Street experience (diner at Grampa’s and a Broom Street Theater show).
Other creative packages include golf or a classroom pizza party with WKOW Meteorologist Bob Lindmeier, Yoga, sports memorabilia from Robin Yount or the Green Bay Packers, tickets to the Mad Rollin’ Dolls, or get above it all and take a one hour personalized aerial tour of Madison in an airplane.
In addition to the silent auction and prizes, attendees can also make direct donations by cash or charge. The organizers stress that no monies received through donations or purchased items will be used for administrative costs of the fundraiser.
See a fantastic photo essay depicting one of Blake’s treatments
Additionally, Atomic Koi owner Hawk Sullivan pledges that all income from the event go to the Rickerts and will not be diluted by labor or inventory costs. Some of the employees are evening donating their tips. Sullivan will also donate the cost to process any donations and transactions made by credit card.
“Even if you don’t bid on an item, if you come down and buy one drink you will be contributing since one hundred percent of the money you pay for that drink will go to the Rickerts,” Sullivan said.
Help Blake Beat Burkitt’s is April 27, 2014 from 1-5 p.m. at the Atomic Koi, 2685 Research Park Dr, Fitchburg. The event features food and drink like donated Noodles & Company Mac and Cheese, cupcakes, as well as home cooked barbeque pulled pork, rice krispie treats and more.
Can’t make it? An account is set up at Associated Bank with funds going directly to the Rickerts; no fees or other monies will be dedcuted from the transaction. Checks can be made payable to “Blake Rickert Fundraiser.” Receipts available upon request. Donations can be made at ANY Associated Bank branch; just reference the Blake Rickert Fundraiser.