It’s been a family affair for the past six years, raising money on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s battle against cancer.
With the Hicks, Swimley and Bernauer families again united, the push to raise funds and awareness has been joined this spring by a trio of accomplished Davis High students.
Christopher (C.K.) Hicks and Brendan MacDonald — along with help from Brett Bloomfield — are hoping to raise $50,000 between now and May.
“Brendan and I are affected by leukemia,” Hicks explains. “My cousin was diagnosed with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma when she was 10.”
MacDonald says his grandmother (Diane Barkey) was afflicted by a bone-marrow disease that claimed her life two years ago.
Hicks’ cousin, Samantha Swimley, is an honor student at Mayville State in North Dakota, where she plays softball. Hicks adds that Sammy has been lucky; her cancer is in remission. But there’s still “a 10-percent chance her cancer could come back. To think that if it did come back, I could lose her …”
“We thought the best thing we could do to help find a cure would be to do this campaign ourselves,” the son of Martha Bernauer and Marc Hicks told The Enterprise.
“We’re jumping into it,” MacDonald further explained. “We’ve got a lot of people helping us, especially C.K.’s family. With that good support staff, we’re trying to make it happen.”
Hicks, MacDonald and Bloomfield all are standout senior athletes.
MacDonald is headed to McKenna College to play football while Bloomfield will be off to Kansas for baseball. Hicks, who suffered a serious knee injury last summer, will have missed the Blue Devils’ football, basketball and baseball seasons. But he promised that his year of rehabilitation has him “almost all the way back” and he’s ticketed to play football at American River College this fall.
But right now, the focus is on raising money and maybe becoming the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Student of the Year.
The three have an ambitious schedule of events planned, beginning with a March 15 FIFA video soccer tournament (20 teams are already registered).
After that, there’s a fundraiser hosted by the Cosumnes River College baseball team (April 5).
The family’s annual Picnic Day beer garden and barbecue will take place 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 12, in the parking lot behind Lyon Real Estate, 401 Second St.
A carwash (April 19), a pasta feed (April 26) and a home-stretch party in Rancho Murieta (May 2) also dot the calendar. Folks can keep up with the trio’s schedule and fundraising progress at www.mwoy.org/pages/sac/sac14/CKBrendan.
“I remember the first time I saw my grandma (after she got sick),” MacDonald recalls. “I saw first-hand how devastating and controlling leukemia was. My grandma had been really active. She was an artist, a dancer, active in everything.
“Then it just took over her life. Doctors’ appointments, medication, rest. The last time I saw her, she had lost so much weight and just didn’t look like my grandma.”
Barkey was in her mid-70s when she died.
So how did top adviser Bloomfield get involved?
First, the trio has been best of friends for years. Secondly, the three looked at who had the most time to contribute this spring.
“We always knew the three of us were going to do it,” Bloomfield said. “We just had to figure out which ones were going to be the names out front. We knew C.K. was in …”
With Bloomfield just finished with basketball then quickly busy with baseball, MacDonald got to share the marquee with Hicks.
“Brett helps plan everything; he gets things in order,” MacDonald points out. “While C.K. and I are the ‘names,’ it’s a three-person deal.”
How do these busy young men find the time?
“We’re motivated,” Bloomfield answers. “And we (each work) at our own paces. But our most productive time? Probably between 11:30 p.m. and 1 a.m.”
While these guys are burning the midnight oil, they believe their efforts will shine a focused light on the fight against blood-related cancers.
Notes: Samantha Swimley, also a DHS grad, is the daughter of Mary and Steve Swimley. Mary started the ball rolling in 2009 when she was the first in the family to join the fundraising campaign. Bernauer was the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s 2010 Woman of the Year. …For additional information, to volunteer or to donate to the Hicks-MacDonald drive, email [email protected]. …Brendan’s folks are Dan MacDonald and Leslye Barkey and Brett is the son of Lori and Tony Bloomfield.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.