Unsung Hero: Evelyn Fuqua and Khrissy Hollister
CARTERVILLE -- Four-year-old Charlie Patrick recently had brain surgery for a rare disorder that causes frequent seizures.
Charlie's family spent more than five weeks in St. Louis while he was at Children's Hospital. During that time, Evelyn Fuqua of Crainville and Khrissy Hollister from Carterville organized a barbecue lunch for the family.
"How can you not help a four-year-old baby? When there's a need we just try to find a way to help," explained Khrissy.
"We need to let the family know that we want to show the family our support, put our arms around them. Even if they're saying they don't need the money, this is our way," said Evelyn.
The lunch was more successful than they ever imagined. They estimate 900 people came through the doors, bringing in more than $11,000 in donations!
"They didn't have to do that," explains Charlie's dad, Ryan Patrick. "But once you're a Carterville boy, I guess you're always a Carterville boy. So they wanted to do something for my family, and I really do appreciate all that they did."
Charlie's parents brought him and big sister Rylie to the benefit. They were overwhelmed by the amount of people willing to help them.
"Humble, humble, humble. That's the world I would use. Ryan was uncomfortable with the whole thing, the concept of a fundraiser. He didn't want it to seem like they needed help," said Khrissy.
"I didn't want it to look like were needy and out asking and begging for help because that's not us," said Ryan. "But if there's anything I've learned from this experience is that we need help."
Charlie is still gaining more strength on the left side of his body and working on other developmental skills, too. But he no longer has seizures.
Ryan says the response from people here at home and even around the world has been encouraging. From the messages and prayers to the financial help, he doesn't know how he will ever repay them.
"You have no idea what they have meant to our family," expresses Ryan, "They have gotten us through the lowest of lows, the darkest times, the times when we were wondering if we were doing the right thing for our son, and you have lifted us up."
Evelyn and Khrissy have a lot of experience organizing fundraisers and say this is one of the most successful events they've been a part of.
"I just want to thank the community for supporting us, and when they hear Khrissy and me call that they don't back off from us," jokes Evelyn. "That they continue to know that we're not doing it for anything other than helping people, just to make the quality of life so much better."
"I think somebody would help me if I needed it. I hope so, so that's just why I do it," said Khrissy.
Charlie is hoping to start Pre-K in the fall. He is walking with a brace and some help right now and goes to therapy three times a week.
Wind: 9 MPH
Humidity: 61 %