Waxhaw fundraiser raises money to fight cancer
Between the parade and the fireworks, Waxhaw residents hope to raise money July 4 to fight cancer. Setting up in the parking lot of the Food Lion on Providence Road, Butch Kelly’s “Butts R Us” barbeque operation will donate all proceeds from that day’s sales to Duke University Medical Center in Durham.
The project started as a favor for two of Kelly’s friends, Frank and Angie Aikmus. In 2007, Angie was diagnosed with a rare form of sarcoma called leiomyosarcoma, a cancer of smooth muscle cells. Smooth muscle cells are the involuntary muscles of the body, like the stomach, but the cancer can appear in any part of the body.
“We got married in September of 2007, then in late October she became sick with what seemed like bronchitis,” Frank Aikmus said. “Then she was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma.”
Because the cancer is rare, there are very few treatment centers available. Across the United States, nine such sarcoma facilities exist. In order to be classified as a sarcoma center, the facility has to see 100 patients with the illness each year.
“We were fortunate to have Duke Medical in our backyard,” Aikmus said. Since the diagnosis, the couple have made the trip to Durham multiple times for chemotherapy, clinical trials and to be treated by the specialists on staff.
In May, the couple got a phone call from Kelly, wanting to do something to help.
“Butch called me about a month ago and said he would like to do something for Angie,” Aikmus said. “We immediately thought of the Duke program, we’ve wanted to give something back for them.”
To help the program, Kelly agreed to set up Monday night, from 5 to 9 p.m, selling barbeque, with face painting and live music.
Menus for the barbeque include plates, ribs and sandwiches, along with Coke sweet tea and water.
“It’s been a challenge,” Aikmus said, of how the couple has handled Angie’s diagnosis. “But it’s made us appreciate each moment of life.”