MOUNT CARMEL — When Smoke on the Wabash Backyard Grand Champion and Mount Carmel native Brandan Patterson heard Dale Howser's story, he wanted to help in anyway he could. So he turned to what he knew best — smoking meat.
Dale was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome as an infant in 2006, and has since had his heart repaired with three major surgeries and a pacemaker installed. Despite his courageous battle, physicians diagnosed the 11-year-old with advanced heart failure in 2014 and he was put on a waiting list for a new heart.
At the end of March, Dale finally received his new heart and has been in and out of the hospital for complications from the transplant.
Patterson has never met the young Olney boy, but learned of his struggle through his friend Bethany Jarvis, who happens to be Dale's mom Rebekah's best friend.
"It just touched me — it touched my heart," Patterson said. "I have a daughter his age, and I know I would want people to help my family if we were in that situation."
Thursday Patterson, owner of Beer Bones BBQ, worked to raise at least $500 or $600 to help pay for some of Dale's medical expenses, with the help of Rub Em Right owners Mark and Michelle Wagner.
"For this cook, I would have been able to get it done, but it would have taken me a few days. Mark and Michelle were kind enough to let me use their facility," Patterson said. "They're real nice people, they'll give their shirt off their back to anybody. Mark knew I'd need help and assistance and he's got a bigger smoker than I do so we could do it all in one day."
But the fundraiser at Rub Em Right last week was just the tip of the iceberg for what Patterson has helped organize for Team Dale.
A massive motorcycle show and car cruise-in is scheduled for May 20 in the Olney City Park, where 40 different motorcycle chapters, numerous live bands, and 47 miscellaneous vendors are scheduled to attend.
"It started off as a pipedream. We thought maybe we'd have a small town bike show and maybe a live band and a food vendor or two," Patterson said. "Turns out, once we started sharing it — it went viral in the bike community."
The once-small town idea has evolved to incorporate a tattoo contest, vendor fair, guitar and raffle, inflatables, numerous food vendors, a cornhole tournament and comedian.
When Patterson and Jarvis started planning for the event three months ago, they had no idea how fast it would grow. Now 2,000 to 3,000 people are estimated to attend to hopefully raise $15,000 for Dale's expenses.
"Every bit of this is for that little boy," Patterson said.
For more information about the upcoming motorcycle show and car cruise-in for Team Dale, call 618-320-1397.