The Daily Herald has an article about a charity cook-off in Lincolnshire.

Lincolnshire’s police officers and firefighters will trade their guns and hoses for spatulas and tongs this weekend to help a Lake County girl fighting cancer.

Crews from the Lincolnshire Police Department and the Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Protection District will host a charity cook-off on Sept. 27 at village hall, 1 Olde Half Day Road. The barbecue showdown is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The menu will consist of ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket.

“Firemen are often known to be good cooks,” said Lincolnshire Police Officer Brian Balinski, one of the event’s organizers. “The Lincolnshire Police Department has a few officers who are passionate about cooking as well. We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to put our skills to the test.”

Fire Chief Fred Krueger is confident his department will prevail. “We’re known as great cooks and they’re known as great eaters,” Krueger said. “They’re really outmatched.”

The beneficiary is 6-year-old Ava Lee, who was diagnosed with a rare type of leukemia this past February. Ava, whose family lives near Lincolnshire, needs a bone-marrow transplant so her body can produce healthy blood cells. But doctors haven’t yet found a donor whose marrow matches hers.

“Our No. 1 goal is to find a bone marrow donor match for Ava,” Balinski said. “We’ve been trying to put on a blood drive together for the last couple of years, and Ava’s story has given us the perfect chance to go above and beyond the initial blood drive we hoped (to) plan.”

Getting tested to be a marrow donor requires a simple interior cheek swab. But it’s an expensive process, and that can scare off potential donors, Balinski said. So, to raise the money needed for anyone to get tested and register with the National Marrow Donor Program’s Be The Match effort at the event, the cooks will sell samples of their culinary creations.

None of Ava’s family members match her, though, so a stranger’s marrow is needed.

A first-grader at Pritchett Elementary School in Buffalo Grove, Ava’s illness was discovered after going to the doctor because of a persistent skin infection, said her mother, Esther Lee. Ava has been receiving chemotherapy treatments for seven months. Because a bone-marrow match has not yet been found, the next step would be an umbilical-cord blood transplant.

“We’re hoping to have 40 blood donors from this event,” Balinski said. “Hopefully this event will tug on the hearts of those who attend.”

Esther Lee said she and her husband, Michael, are “honored and humbled” by the community’s support.

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