Thursday, Feb. 28 2013 4:21PM
Culver’s holds “Burgers for John Bubby”
By Russ Pulley
The Lee’s Summit Culver’s restaurant is holding a fundraiser to help the family of a 5-year-old with an inoperable brain tumor.
Matt Mitchell, the restaurant’s owner, said he will donate 50 percent of all sales March 2 from the Lee’s Summit location to the family of 5-year-old John Kern.
He said that the restaurant at 1701 NE Douglas Street has been promoting the fundraiser by putting flyers in each drive-through order. Additionally there are donation canisters at five Culver’s locations in the metropolitan area.
Mitchell said that his best employees, and some former employees, have committed to working extra the whole day to help preparing and serving meals because the restaurant expects to be busier than usual due to the fundraiser.
The event is called Burgers for John Bubby.
His father and grandfather are also named John, Mitchell said, so the family started calling the boy John Bubby and it stuck.
Mitchell said he is close to some friends of the Kern family so became aware of the situation and decided to help as he could.
“I can’t make it go away, but we can help financially, it’s the one thing we can do,” Mitchell said. “It’s just a touching story we couldn’t turn away from.”
The Kern family lives in Kearney, but the child’s mother attended Lee’s Summit Community Church and their marriage mentors attend that congregation. The Kerns met the Mitchells through their mentors.
John Bubby’s illness was diagnosed in mid-January after his mother, Kimberly Kern, noticed something was wrong with the playful and energetic boy. He was beginning to have unusual problems with balance and his leg and kept falling. He had a tumor interwoven in his brain stem.
Surgery isn’t an option.
They family had three choices: do nothing, get radiation treatments which would extend his life several months with better quality of life, or he could undergo a combination of chemo and radiation therapy. “We’d be living in the hospital the next year” but still not have a good prognosis, John Kern said.
John Kern, the boy’s father, said with their Christian faith they know where John Bubby is going and decided they wanted him to have a high quality of life while he was with them and his brother Jackson, who is 1-and-a-half years old.
John Bubby is just finishing his radiation treatments at Children’s Mercy Hospital, he said.
John Kern said he couldn’t thank the Mitchells enough.
“It’s amazing someone we met once would do something like this for us,” he said.