Sick son, father get help at fundraiser


A man donates at the Canaday Family Benefit hosted by Cabana Charley’s, 1470 S. Peace Road in Sycamore, Monday. The event was held to raise money for Christopher Canaday, who has battled pulmonary atresia, and his father, Mark Canaday, who is fighting esophageal cancer. The event was coordinated by Jen Montavon and Ali Henry, a P.E. teacher and a teaching assistant, respectively, at Clinton Rosette Middle School, which Christopher Canaday attends.

By Keisha Howerth

Community members celebrated their St. Patrick’s Day by supporting a DeKalb family at Cabana Charley’s.

The restaurant, 1470 S. Peace Road, was host a charity benefit for the Canaday family, of DeKalb, to raise money for their medical and living expenses.

Christopher Canaday, a 7th grader at Clinton Rosette Middle School, was born with pulmonary atresia, a heart defect that resulted in his right ventricle being completely bypassed and nonfunctional.

Canaday has had more than 26 surgeries to treat it, including several open heart surgeries.

Christopher’s father, Mark Canaday, was recently diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

Monday’s benefit was created by Christopher’s P.E. teacher, Jen Montavon, and Ali Henry, a teaching assistant at Clinton Rosette Middle School.

“When the dad was diagnosed, we wanted to help,” Henry said. “They’re special people, and they’re always positive.”

Tables were set up by the entrance for community members to purchase raffle tickets. Items up for raffle prizes included a Menards gift card, a one-month Charter Fitness membership and two tickets for a Las Vegas trip.

“A lot of businesses were willing to donate,” said Reine Waldorf, a friend of the Canaday family.

In addition to raffle ticket purchases, 10 percent of the food sales from the night were donated to the Canaday family.

Montavon said Cabana Charley’s has provided space for other fundraisers and was happy to help the Canaday family.

Starting at 5 p.m., people from the community came out to support the family, with some parties having to wait an hour to be seated. Montavon said about 600 people confirmed attendance to the event on Facebook.

“People think so much of the [Canaday family],” Montavon said. “We’re very thankful for people to come out.”

According to the family’s GoFundMe website, created by Henry, $16,579 has been donated by 122 people in two months.

“Community support is amazing,” Henry said. “It shows that they’re a very deserving family.”