LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Kendra Julian and Joe Mackey met for the first time Friday night, one day before the Mackey Benefit for Leukemia. Julian planned the event to help the Mackey family.
Last year, Mackey, his wife Tammi, and son Conner were supporting their other son Patrick as he went through leukemia treatments. In December, Patrick passed away. It was two years after his sister, Claire, died of the same disease.
“We lost Patrick in December,” Mackey said. “We weren’t paying attention. But [The Julians] called me and said ‘we are still going to have this fundraiser, we’re still going to do this for you.’ We’re very grateful.”
So, planning for the event continued. On Saturday, months of planning finally took center stage for Julian.
Halfway through the day 300 people had passed through the benefit at Central Catholic Junior Senior High School. Dozens of vendors lined hallways and gyms. And, there were still several more hours to go.
Julian said she knew early on she was going to surpass her fundraising goal.
“I think our goal was really small. Originally, it was $5,000,” Julian said. “Our end goal now is $20,000 or more.”
Vendors’ fees raised $3,500 dollars alone. Heartland Pizza agreed to give half their earnings to the Mackey family.
Joe and Conner said a community-orientated event is the best way to carry on Claire and Patrick’s legacies.
“We raised our children to be aware of the community as a whole,” Mackey said. “They would see the sensibility in this. They would see the value in it from a community stand point.
“The amount of people you see out here is kind of a testament to their character,” Conner said. “Just the fact that they were so popular and loved here. ”
But, the event may have benefited more than the Mackey family.
“I can stand here with my parents, and they support me,” Julian said. “I know this is the right thing because so many people are here supporting Claire and Patrick, and for my parents to stand here with me, it’s really touching.”