OKEECHOBEE — One Fourth of July celebration this year in the Okeechobee community — a free pig roast and barbeque at a local tavern — is being staged to help a longtime area resident in her battle against brain cancer.
A former employer and many friends of Patti Berglund, who was the office manager for Okeechobee The Magazine for many years, are staging a “Pig Roast for Patti” on the holiday this Thursday and hoping they can draw many of her neighbors and friends to help raise money for her treatment and expenses. Cash donations will be welcomed, and items are being sought that day and all through July from local merchants for a Chinese auction to take place July 28, for her benefit.
Mrs. Berglund is “one of Okeechobee’s most generous and beloved daughters, and she needs our help,” says the flier being circulated around town. She was just recently diagnosed with brain tumors after traveling to North Carolina for her mother’s funeral. Patti’s supporters will come together for not only the event on the Fourth but also other fundraising activities every weekend in July, which has been declared “Cancer Sucks Month” at Back to Butch’s Bar, 4870 U.S. 441 S.E.
The events will take place July 4-7, 13-14, 20-21 and 27-28. They will include food, entertainment, raffles and prizes, game play for bar tabs (shuffle board, ring toss and korn hole), and culminate in the auction on the last Sunday of the month at Butch’s.
Susan Giddings, a former publisher of the magazine, teamed up with Jeffrey Kennedy, owner of Back to Butch’s, to put on these events for the benefit of Mrs. Berglund. She is the wife of Rick Berglund of Okeechobee and worked for Mrs. Giddings and previous publishers as the face at the front desk for Okeechobee The Magazine for over a decade.
“Patti and Ricky are a wonderful couple, extremely generous and well-liked by everyone, so we’re doing this to try to help her,” Mr. Kennedy said Wednesday.
He has been making the rounds of local businesses, where Mrs. Berglund is well-known, to solicit items for the auction and already has pledges from several. Donations may be made or items dropped off at the Okeechobee the Magazine office, 314 N.W. Fifth St. in Okeechobee, or at Back to Butch’s. Donors are asked to call to arrange a delivery date or time for any larger items.
In addition, every weekend in July at the bar, there will be live music and “dollar hotdogs and burgers,” he said, as part of the month-long “Cancer Sucks” fundraiser. Their goal is to raise at least $5,000 toward the cost of her treatment. Mrs. Berglund is undergoing treatments for the cancer under the care of Dr. Ramesh Kumar of the Big Lake Cancer Center in Okeechobee.
For the event on the Fourth of July, Mr. Kennedy said, there will be live country music all day, with Junior Velez — known as “The Belle Glade Boy” — performing from noon to 4 p.m. and Jake Hair onstage from 4 until 8 p.m. Back to Butch’s is located on the Rim Canal, with 17 boat slips and dockage available for visiting boaters, and is open at 10 a.m. daily except Sunday, when the doors open at 1 p.m. An overflow parking area is available across U.S. 441 from Butch’s Fish Camp & RV Park.
For more information or to contribute gift certificates or things for the auction, contact Ms. Giddings at 863-801-1419 or Mr. Kennedy at 561-308-5919.