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Fundraiser For Cancer Patient Draws Crowds In Grayslake

roberts250 Bob Roberts
Bob Roberts is a native of Wilmette who has worked in Chicago media...
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(CBS) – Hundreds of people turned out at a fund-raiser for a Grayslake teen who is battling brain cancer.

The 13-year-old cancer patient, Joey Cambio, expected to see some friends and fellow Boy Scouts at the fundraiser, at the Culver’s Restaurant on Route 83 in Grayslake.

“(I expected) a small gathering, much less people than this,” he said. “I think it’s really quite amazing.”

Traffic backed up for a while half a mile in either direction. Police, who were on hand to show their support, were pressed into service directing traffic. The fire chief had to keep the crowd manageable and make sure people moved in and out of the restaurant in an orderly fashion.

Local officials say it should be no surprise and Grayslake takes care of its own. Joey’s own father looked on with admiration at his son, who is finishing up a round of chemo and will begin six weeks of daily radiation treatments after spring break.

“I wish I could be half the man that he is, and he’s only 13,” his father, Steve, said.

The elder Cambio drove Joey to the fundraiser. When they arrived, and saw the crowds already on hand, Joey was “flabbergasted,” the father said.

Joey was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer in November, but he and his parents quickly made the decision to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The chemo has cost him his hair, and he said classmates are eagerly awaiting a St. Baldrick’s Foundation fund-raiser, where they will shave off their hair in a show of support.

“Some of them aren’t even really best friends with me and they still want to shave their heads,” he said. “It’s really thoughtful.”

Culver’s Restaurant donated 25 percent of its Thursday receipts to the fund set up in his name.  Any money left over after bills are paid will be donated to brain cancer research.

Joey is still hoping to graduate on time in June and begin high school in the fall.  Asked what he would like most for a graduation present, he said good health.

“That would be nice. Really nice,” he said.

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