QUINCY -- Ross Schulte threw a few darts on Friday night, hoping for a win not only for himself but for local cancer patients.
"I've got more tickets in my pocket," the Mendon man said. "I'm trying to win stuff and to donate for a good cause."
Helping out the cause of local cancer patients drew hundreds of people to the sixth annual Community Cancer Crush benefit banquet at the Ambiance, featuring live and silent auctions, a meal, entertainment by Madd Hoss Jackson and a chance to win prizes.
"This is a great opportunity to give back," Schulte said. "I was affected by breast cancer with the loss of my mother. My wife works for Blessing Hospice. She sees it on a daily basis."
When Luke Tappe lost his dad, Ted, to cancer five years ago, he just wanted to do something to help. He took all the negative energy surrounding his dad's death and turned it into something positive by launching Cancer Crush.
"This is Year Six of Cancer Crush. We have raised so far $320,000 plus for local cancer patients," Tappe said.
Proceeds aid Cancer Crush's efforts to help with house and/or car payments, medicinal needs, transportation, utilities, lodging and more for those fighting the disease.
"It's a lot of work, but a lot of fun. It's a labor of love," Tappe said. "I couldn't do anything else to make my old man more proud."
Barb Kurk and Rosie Baskett took pride in the community's willingness to help those fighting the disease. Both women work in the radiation department of the Blessing Cancer Center and forge close bonds with patients.
"I love people who care that much about cancer patients and want to help. They deserve it," said Kurk, who lives in Quincy.
"It's a huge support. The community is tremendous," said Baskett, who lives in Palmyra, Mo. "At this point, pretty much everybody is touched by cancer in their family."
Carla McKnight came to the benefit for the first time. Some of her family members have been touched by cancer, and "I'm trying to help out," the Ursa woman said.
So was Greg Reis, who accompanied his wife, a longtime nurse at Blessing Hospital who works with cancer patients.
"We've had multiple people in her family, my family lost to cancer, multiple friends," he said. "This is a great opportunity for the community to come out and support the cancer patients in Quincy, Ill."