CISSNA PARK, Ill. (WCIA) – When a Cissna Park family needed help, their community jumped into action. Volunteers spent Sunday raising money for a child battling cancer.
“We’re running out of food at 2 o’clock but the checks are still coming,” American Legion adjutant Ron Lynch said.
Those checks were made out to the Kaufmanns – a family facing unimaginable circumstances.
“This little boy is in the fight of his life. It’s a long ways from it being in the home stretch,” Lynch said.
2-year-old Wynston Kaufmann was diagnosed with cancer just a few weeks ago. His parents, Andy and Katie Kaufmann, say they’ve only spent one night outside of the hospital since that day. But even while they’re away, their hometown is taking care of them.
“It just proves every day that small town life in the middle of Illinois – there’s no better place in the world to be,” Lynch said.
Lynch, a former teacher, organized a chicken dinner fundraiser for the Kaufmanns. He said Andy and Katie were two of his students. Within hours, they sold more than a thousand meals – in a town of 800.
“It has far and away exceeded anybody’s expectations,” he said.
Even when they ran out of food early, local businesses pitched in to keep the meals moving. They showed that to pull off something this big, it takes a village like Cissna Park.
“Every piece of food that we have given out in dinners – all of the plates, all of the silverware – has come from a business or a group of individuals from our community,” Lynch said.
Even State Senator Tom Bennett stopped by to help out.
“They just come out and support each other. It’s what small towns do, and they do so very well,” Bennett said.
He said it was “tremendous” to watch everyone rally behind the family.
“They’re not rushing out of here. They’re coming in, they’re sitting, they’re talking with family and friends,” Bennett said. “It’s a social event in a lot of ways to come together as a community to support.”
If you couldn’t make it to the fundraiser but would still like to help out, you can donate online, in-person or by mail. You can find their GoFundMe page here. An account has also been set up at the Frederick Community Bank, PO Box 36, Cissna Park, IL 60924. Checks should be made payable to the Wynston Kaufmann Fund.
The Kaufmanns released this statement:
Wynston (2 year old son of Andy & Katie Kaufmann) was diagnosed with cancer on January 2nd. We are a family of 5, also having a 3 year old daughter, and a 6 month old daughter. We have been with Wynston in the hospital, only spending one night at home, since the diagnosis on January 2nd. Wynston has finished one round of chemo, and will start his next round of chemo in a couple weeks. We are absolutely amazed by the outpouring of support we have received since Wynston’s cancer diagnosis. We find strength in knowing we have so much support. We received video footage from the chicken dinner benefit today, and were amazed at the turnout. These are unimaginable circumstances we are enduring, and seeing so many people show up to support our family, we were just overcome with emotions. We are genuinely, truly grateful for the exceptional generosity we have received. Thank You will never be enough!! God Bless You All! #WynstonStrongKaufmann family