BATAVIA – The turnout on Saturday at a Batavia family walk-a-thon benefit put a smile on Danielle Burciaga's face.
There were more than 100 people on or near the Rotolo Middle School outdoor track one hour into the event. Then some members of the Batavia Fire Department showed up to help cool down the runners by setting up one of their fire hoses.
The walk-a-thon raised $4,878, which was within range of Burciaga's initial $5,000 goal. She said there were generous donors who far surpassed the $10 a person entry fee.
"I was just trying to do something nice for somebody," Burciaga, a Cortland resident, said. "In the end, it was all worth it for me."
Burciaga, an Illinois Central School Bus driver, organized the three-mile walk-a-thon for Batavian Mike Hubert and his family. Hubert was diagnosed in 2010 with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which is a cancer of the lymph tissue. He recently completed his second stem cell transplant and might come home Sunday from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, his wife, Kelli, said.
Burciaga has gotten to know the Huberts through driving their three children – Jack, 12, and six-year-old twins Lucas and Kasey – to school at different times. She would see Mike Hubert at the bus stop every morning, and found out about his diagnosis after she commented about his appearance one day.
Kelli Hubert has been taking care of her three sons and the family expenses while her husband recovers. Burciaga took it upon herself to help with efforts to support the family, including handing out fliers at the Batavia Fire Department and various other locations. Even so, she refuses to take all the credit.
The people who came on Saturday made this a success, Burciaga said. That included Kevin Patrick, one of the Huberts' next-door neighbors.
Patrick's son Brandon mows the Huberts' lawn so it's one less thing they have to worry about. He said the Huberts are a compassionate family.
"They're always willing to help, and it's nice that we can return something," Kevin Patrick said.
Scott Nelson of Arlington Heights reached out to a supplier of his employer to have sports apparel and other items donated for the walk-a-thon raffle. He and Mark Sullivan, also of Arlington Heights, were at Saturday's event because they have known Mike Hubert since they were all in the third grade.
Nelson was impressed by Burciaga's efforts, especially since she only sees the family for a few minutes each day but cares so much.
Perhaps the most impressed and grateful person of all was Kelli Hubert, who fought back tears on Saturday as she called Burciaga an angel for helping her family.
"She's not a close friend, but she saw a potential need and reached out," Kelli Hubert said.
Know more A 60-day fundraising campaign has been created to benefit the Batavia family of Mike Hubert, who has battled Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma since 2010. To contribute, visit http://igg.me/at/kicklymphoma.