Fundraiser gives back to Central Texas firefighter battling brain cancer
LORENA, Texas (KWTX) - A fundraiser for beloved 24-year-old Jarrell firefighter Jake Owen, of Lorena, who is battling brain cancer was a huge success bringing out more than 500 friends and family and raising more than $100,000.
“Jakefest” was held Saturday at Big’s Mayberry Tavern in Lorena to raise money for medical expenses after Owen was diagnosed in January with a complex and cancerous brain tumor.
“It was amazing,” said Jake’s aunt, Kristi Kane. “It was mind blowing, honestly. The love and support for Jake and his family was so evident between all the firemen and local people.”
The event included live music all day, food, and a silent and live auction.
The silent auction included items donated by businesses from across Central Texas and raised more money than organizers expected.
“We had 150 silent auction items, and they went for way over their values,” Kane said. “It was crazy.”
The audible auction included a 5-day cruise, a guided fishing trip and a 6-day trophy whitetail archery hunt with lodging and meals at Timberland Outfitters in Illinois.
That hunt was donated by a couple who happened to be in the tavern in Lorena when the committee was having a planning meeting.
The couple asked a committee member at the bar who Jake was and within minutes they were offering a hunt on their place in Illinois for the auction.
Jake’s cousin, Callan Schuller, was there along with Kane who said the gesture brought the group to tears.
“They were just impacted and touched by Jake and his story,” Callan said. “They came to us and said they wanted to give something to our cause and felt really impacted.”
Bailey Owen is Jake’s younger sister and said the outpouring of support from those who attended Jakefest touched the firefighter’s entire family.
“We just wanted to reach out to everyone and let you know just how thankful we are for all the love and support that we’ve received,” Bailey said. “It’s really been overwhelming and it’s so much more than we ever could have asked for. We have felt all the love and give it right back to you.”
Jake has undergone three major surgeries and just completed chemotherapy and radiation.
Jake is the firefighter who inspired the entire Jarrell Fire Department to shave their heads in a show of solidarity back in February.
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