Nothing tastes better than giving back to a worthy cause, unless perhaps you’re digging into a fresh stack of pancakes drizzled in maple syrup. For over 40 years, the Denair Lions Club has combined these two concepts at their annual pancake breakfast, which encourages the community to eat, enjoy and donate to those who need it most.
In past years, proceeds from the DLC pancake breakfast have been used to purchase new uniforms and equipment for the Denair Lions Youth Football League, for updates and fixes to the Denair High School sport facilities and programs and most frequently to help local residents in need of financial aid for medical bills, either after or during a tragedy.
The fundraiser and social event typically draws 400 to 600 supporters and has raised anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 in past years, said Dan Borba, DLC member and chairman of the event. The event once helped his mother-in-law pay medical bills after she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, he said.
“Things like this are why I joined the Lions Club. We’re a service-oriented group,” said Borba. “It’s nice to help those in the community, or the community itself.”
This year, proceeds from the pancake breakfast will go to 66-year-old Eleanore Casteneda and her husband Saul. On March 8, Casteneda was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and was forced to begin chemotherapy the very next day due to the severity of the cancer.
In addition to battling the disease, Casteneda is a selfless caregiver to many, including her mother, who suffers from Dementia and Alzheimer’s, and her brother-in-law, who is battling mental issues. She also served as a non-emergency medical transport driver for 25 years.
The treatment of Casteneda’s Leukemia has been made nearly impossible due to several infections, and it has been a difficult battle finding a compatible donor for either a blood stem cell transfusion or a bone marrow transplant. Different family members have been ruled out as suitable matches due to various problems, but Castaneda’s son Nick is currently the best hope, with a 33 percent chance of success.
As soon as she is healthy, she will begin the transfusion process and will know if it is successful with 24 to 48 hours. If not, she will then have to have a bone marrow transplant from her brother Nick. She will also begin chemotherapy again as part of the treatment.
Since March, the Castenedas have acquired extensive travel and hotel bills, inspiring the DLC to help.
Casteneda’s Leukemia has required her to travel to Sacramento every other day since early March to monitor and treat her infections, and after the transfusion and/or transplant, she will need to stay no more than 20 minutes from the Sutter Hospital in Sacramento for 100 days. It will more than likely be in a hotel, which will need to be sterile to reduce the chance of infection, and none of these expenses are covered by medical insurance.
All proceeds from the DLC pancake breakfast will go to the Castenedas, said Borba, and the event will take place beginning at 7 a.m. on Nov. 5 at the Denair Community Center, 3850 N. Gratton Rd. No ticket purchase is required to eat at the event, as monetary donations are taken at the door. Those who are unable to attend the breakfast may also send donations to the Denair Lions, PO Box 32, Denair 95316.