Cash McCandless is a spunky seven-year-old who loves Jimmy Fallon, knock-knock jokes and root beer milk, says his mom, Shelly McCandless, the longtime manager of Avenue Grill in Uptown. But in 2012, after playing games with his grandma, Cash woke up in Children's Hospital after suffering a seizure.
In late November of 2012, doctors discovered a mass on his brain, which was successfully removed with surgery. Six months later, Cash's tumor had resurfaced and metastasized to his spine. The seven-year-old was diagnosed with grade 2 ganglioglioma, a rare type of tumor and stage 4 cancer.
"You may know his mom, Shelly, from the Avenue Grill or EatDenver, or from one of the numerous causes she supports in our community," says Elizabeth Woessner, former executive director of EatDenver, a network of local, independent restaurants. "Some of you," she adds, "have probably asked her for a donation from the Avenue Grill for your favorite charity -- and she probably gave it to you."
And now is a very good time to give back to the McCandless family, whose monumental medical bills continue to rise from the crushing costs incurred from Cash's hospital and required drug care, which includes weekly chemotherapy sessions. To that end, numerous chefs with huge hearts have stepped in to hold what they're calling a Lucky 7 gala this Sunday, from 5 to 9 p.m. at Sports Authority Field at Mile High to raise money to soften the expenses.
Participating chefs include Matt Selby (Central Bistro & Bar) Troy Guard (TAG, TAG Raw Bar, TAG Burger Bar, Los Chingones, Sugarmill and Guard and Grace), Paul Reilly (Beast + Bottle), Andrew Lubatty (Avenue Grill), Alex White (Jonesy's EatBar) and Keegan Gerhard (D Bar), all of whom will cook Cash's favorite foods. Twin bartender brothers Ryan and Randy Layman will pour cocktails, and there's also live music and silent and live auctions with some amazing items up for bid, including an autographed guitar signed by Paul McCartney, an autographed Peyton Manning jersey and brunch for eight at Matt Selby's home.
Tickets to the fundraising bash are $77 each, and can be purchased on the Lucky 7 gala website. But even if you can't make it on Sunday, there are plenty of additional donation opportunities on the ticket purchasing page to help Cash and his mom.
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