The Fulton Rotary Club's sixth annual Callaway Cup Mouse Races, scheduled Feb. 22 at the Fulton Event Center, will benefit the Super Sam Foundation.
The Super Sam Foundation aims to raise awareness, fund research and support families in the fight against pediatric cancer. The foundation was established by the family of Sam Santhuff, a local 6-year-old who died from a rare childhood cancer.
"Every year, our incoming president gets to select a charity or organization that we will support," Fulton Rotary Club President Allen Huggins said.
President-elect Sherry McCarthy chose the Super Sam Foundation.
"I worked with Sam's grandmother," McCarthy said. "And we were talking, tossing out ideas, and someone mentioned that one (SSF), and that was the one I really have a heart for."
The mouse races will offer mouse betting, a silent auction, photo booth, children's crafts and raffles.
Admission costs $40 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 and younger. Ticket prices include a Cajun-style meal catered by Fontenot's and frozen drinks provided by The Station. Anyone interested in attending can purchase tickets at Central Bank and Peak Sport and Spine, as well as from any Fulton Rotarian.
The event is also looking for sponsors. For information on the three sponsorship levels, contact Mary Ann Beahon at 573-220-1947 or [email protected] To donate a silent auction item, email Jennifer Books at [email protected]
Lindsey Hux, Super Sam Foundation director of comfort, visited the Fulton Rotary Club on Wednesday to talk about the foundation's work.
"In 2014, Sam and his family were berry picking and were just like any other family, enjoying the day together," Hux said.
While removing ticks picked up during the outing, Sam's mother, Cassie Santhuff, noticed an unusual bump.
"They were told what no family wants to hear — that their child has cancer," Hux said.
In everything that it does, the foundation asks three main questions: Does this honor God? Would this make Sam proud? Will this help all the children?
"All through his 13-month battle, what Sam wanted most was to help all the kids," Hux said. "More so than thinking of himself, he always thought of his friend down the hallway or the friend he met previously when he was at a treatment."
The foundation makes comfort packs for children and their families impacted by pediatric cancer. Children get blankets, stuffed animals and movies; siblings get stuffed animals, coloring books and crazy socks; and parents get practical supplies like laundry detergent and gift cards for gas and food.
"Sam's goal when it was originally talked about when the foundation was forming was let's do 100," Hux said. "And Kathy and Matt thought, 'Sam, that's kind of a lot.'"
To date, the foundation has distributed more than 2,000 comfort packs.
In addition to supporting families, the foundation has raised more than $160,000 for pediatric cancer research. In 2020, they hope to fund another $100,000.
Super Sam places a special emphasis on the voices of children, such as Sam's twin sister, Ava, and others whose loved ones have been impacted by cancer. When a group of local middle school students came to the foundation looking for ways to help, the foundation helped them speak at their schools and even visit Washington, D.C., with Ava and other children to raise awareness.
"We have a local hero fighting. His name is Wyatt (Salmons), and his friends came to us and said, 'We want to do something to help,'" Hux said.
Hux thanked the Rotary Club for choosing to donate proceeds from the mouse races to the Super Sam Foundation. Sam's father, Matt Santhuff, also appreciates the Rotary Club's support.
Past mouse races have raised around $4,000 for organizations such as the Fulton Public Schools Foundation, the Callaway County Public Library and the Adult Enrichment Center. In addition to the mouse race fundraiser, the Rotary Club will work with the foundation on a project.
"I just like the fact that the Rotary Club is willing to pick us for support for this event. They could have chosen anybody, and it was nice they chose us," Santhuff said. "My wife, Cassie, Ava and I will all three be there, and we're looking forward to it."