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Fava Bean Day recipient thankful for support
dustin babb
Dustin Babb, a graduate of Pitman High School, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. - photo by Photo Contributed

The family of 18-year-old Dustin Babb is learning that even in the darkest of days a little sunshine can peek through.

Babb, a graduate of Pitman High School, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia after experiencing unexplained bouts of listlessness and heart pains. When his first round of chemotherapy had little effect, doctors tested his chromosomes and the results brought the family some unwelcome news.

“It’s a type of cancer that he’ll always have,” said Babb’s aunt Connie Libby. “It won’t go into remission.”

The hope is that the current round of chemotherapy that Babb receives twice a week in his spine at Stanford University Medical Center will keep the cancer from growing rapidly, giving him the time and energy to study animal sciences at UC Merced.

The family is expressing their gratitude for a sizeable donation from the annual Fava Bean Day celebration to help pay for the needed expenses as Babb fights the cancer living in his body. The annual Turlock fundraiser donated $12,000 to the family.

Fava Bean Day began as a joke by Turlock resident Joe Fagundes that has now grown into an annual fundraiser for area children diagnosed with cancer. At this year’s festivities, held on May 9, the organizers collected $24,000 for two recipients.

“We want to thank Joe Fagundes and his family and all the volunteers that help,” Libby said. “It has helped a lot with the medical bills.”

The family has also benefited from a blood drive in Babb’s name and a fundraiser from Dean’s Pizza.

“It’s been remarkable,” Libby said. “The community has been so supportive.”

After experiencing such generosity, the family plans on repaying the kindness by becoming regular volunteers at the Fava Bean Day celebration.

“We’ll be out there shucking fava beans every year so we can help every other kid in need,” Libby said.