The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.


db Conard, The Quill

Good Neighbors

Can't Give Enough

"Fight Like A Girl" was the theme printed on a sea of pink T-shirts. It was a fundraiser for the Gray family whose eight month-old daughter Nichole was in a fight for her life.

Leukemia had come to the lives of the Gray family and until it is beaten, this disease will be a part of every day for this loving family and a community that has come to care.

The Eagle Club Banquet Hall was full, and we mean full. You had to squeeze around people, it was that packed.

There was an auction going on, and Mac Curtis who is a horse trainer by profession, sure sounded like a professional auctioneer. $42 dollars for a twelve pack of beer says something about his talent.

Everywhere you looked there was a pink shirt busy doing something. More than twenty volunteers had put together countless details that resulted in more than anyone could have hoped for. There wasn't a thing that was missed.

How about Jason Wagy who had worked the night before but stayed up all day long and cooked for several hundred people.

Then there were the surprising number of people who had not even known the Grays but had traveled from out of town to support this young family.

It was through Facebook that some got involved because they had, or were experiencing the disease that Nichole and her family were going through.

There was a raffle for a motorcycle and an auction for a jet ski and countless other items. Lots of gifts and prizes, with something happening every minute.

After the talking, the food, auction, drawing and the prizes it was time for music. And they had music. Eddie Fletcher had brought three great bands together for the cause.

Shotgun Wally, Dungeon Jeep, and the Skapegote Iowa all gave their time and helped in a large way to change the Nichole fundraiser into a celebration.

It was just about a year and a half ago that we featured a Treasure in the Heartland story about John and his family. Grays Towing had its grand opening and a new family and business were going to be members of the community.

When the story was written this family of three was just a box of potential. Not many in town knew the Grays. But the family invested everything they had in the towing and auto repair business.

Since that first day a busy, successful service to the community has steadily grown by not only customers but with the birth of their daughter Nichole eight months ago.

When cancer raised its ugly head and Nichole was discovered to have Leukemia, who would have thought that such a powerful force would be inspired in this small river town.

Part of the magic that was to touch the Gray family started as the Cargill family was celebrating Christmas.

Chad Cargill and his wife Jayme and her brother Matt Price and his wife Ashley were visiting and the plight of the Gray family came up.

Nichole's leukemia was like the disease that had taken Jayme and Matt's younger brother T. J. when he was five years old, so they really had a sense of what the Gray family was going through.

In the spirit of the day, both families decided that they were going to do something to help, and did they ever!.

Many people and hundreds of hours of effort, all came together on Saturday when several hundred friends and neighbors gathered on a cold day in January to support neighbors in their time of need

It was obvious to everyone who took part, that something special was going on.

There was an enthusiasm that was impossible to miss, with almost everyone saying they were getting so much more than what they gave just by experiencing their community and its generosity and the pleasure of giving to a worthwhile cause.

The first part of February Nichole will receive a stem cell treatment which will begin with her dad John being a bone marrow donor. Everything is encouraging for a cure for Nichole. It's now all about time, patience and prayer.

It's once again the people of the community who are the Treasure in the Heartland. What began with the Cargill and Price families ended up uniting hundreds of the best kind of neighbors you could ask for. And it all started in the spirit of Christmas highlighted by a theme depicted by Allen Miller's T-shirt design in the slogan "Fight Like A Girl!"

If you missed the gathering and would like to help the young Gray family - John, Tania and Brenton and baby Nichole, you can drop off your contributions at the Midwest Bank Of Oquawka c/o of Nichole Gray Benefit.

Jayme Cargill announces auction items as Mac Curtis calls for the bid as family and friends assist in locating the bidder during a benefit for 2 month old Nichole Gray of Oquawka, diagnosed with Leukemia.