Embracing a 4-year-old boy with local ties, members of the Gold Hill Moose Lodge #178 will serve up barbecue and then some on Saturday in hopes of raising funds to help the boy’s family while he continues cancer treatment.
Diagnosed with a high risk form of neuroblastoma, 4-year-old Nathaniel David Curry-Ohlsen lived in Gold Hill until a diagnosis this past year forced the family to relocate to Portland to be closer to doctors at OHSU Doernbecher’s Children’s Hospital.
Known for referring to himself as “blue cat” or “purple dragon,” the boisterous Nathaniel won’t be able to attend his own barbecue due to chemotherapy treatments.
High risk neuroblastoma is a form of childhood cancer that affects the adrenal glands or surrounding tissue of the nervous system of the adrenal glands. Already facing treatment this week, he’s also scheduled for a monthlong round of aggressive chemotherapy, set to begin two days before Halloween.
Moose Lodge member Jeff Arsenault, a native of Indiana, is hoping his own skill at smoking, grilling and barbecuing will produce a menu full of East Coast favorites. Arsenault began cooking on Wednesday for the Saturday menu, which includes Carolina-style pork, Santa Maria tri-tip, Louisiana rice and beans, Indiana-style ham hocks and, a local favorite, corn from Seven Oaks Farm.
Arsenault said he is not acquainted with the boy or his family, save for his wife’s ties via her work at Erickson Air Crane, but that he hopes to host an annual event in order to help one local child and their family each year.
“My wife works at Erickson,” he said. “Her boss, this is his little grandson. She told me about him one evening and I just wanted to find a way to help. I’ve been doing benefits to help the community for a long time and this was a good cause.
“I’ve only met Nathan’s dad one time when he found out what we were doing,” said Arsenault. “He gave me a big ol’ hug, which just about made me cry.”
Arsenault has several bands scheduled but needs to fill one more spot after a band canceled. Any local bands willing to fill a two-hour time slot, he noted, would be appreciated.
Local bands performing on Saturday include Gypsy Gillis. Additional activities and fundraisers include “Karaoke with Elvis,” raffles and a silent auction.
A co-host of the event, “Dye Happy,” a local tie-dye business, will participate in the event alongside Arsenault.
Donations may be made through GoFundMe, at www.gofundme.com/kst99f-road-to-recovery.
Saturday’s event is scheduled for 2-8 p.m. at the lodge, 9713 Old Stage Road.
“And we’re doing this thing, rain or shine!” said Arsenault,
To contact Arsenault, call 541-210-0333.