Pairing the festive atmosphere of a Cinco de Mayo celebration and a community fundraiser, the offered local residents a memorable opportunity to party for a good cause last night.
Cinco de Mayo is popular in the U.S. and Mexico with commercial interests promoting the holiday with products and services that focus on Mexican food, beverages, music and festivities. Cinco de Mayo is actually a day that honors the bravery and victory of Mexican General Zaragoza's smaller, poorly armed and outnumbered militia at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 against the French.
Broadneck residents decided to honor the bravery and fight that longtime Cape St. Claire resident Lauren Dowling Tyler has had with cystic fibrosis since she was less than a year old for their Cinco de Mayo observance.
The charge was led by owner, Donna Duran, when she decided to hold a cystic fibrosis fundraiser in Tyler’s honor.
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States. A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.
When Duran asked for the support of the community, the response was overwhelming.
“I couldn’t believe how many people were supportive when they heard we were supporting cystic fibrosis and the Tyler family,” Duran said.
Hundreds of people flooded the restaurant to enjoy special cocktails like the Lupie, a drink specially created for the event, with all proceeds being donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Outdoor seating was setup in front of the restaurant for folks to enjoy open air dining while a tent was setup behind the restaurant to allow for more socializing and to participate in the silent auction.
A host of items was being raffled off and being bid on at the silent auction such as a Weber Gas Grill, Orioles Club Level tickets, themed gift baskets and much more.
“The area businesses, especially the local ones in the shopping center, really stepped up to donate items for the silent auction,” said Broadneck Grill employee Michelle Hahn.
There was also no shortage of volunteers for this event. Broadneck resident and friend of Duran, Selma Otto, happily volunteered her time greeting the crowd and selling test tube shooters for the cause.
Broadneck residents Wendy West and her daughter, Megan, also volunteered to sell raffle tickets, as this event had special significance to them also. Megan has suffered from cystic fibrosis since she was four years old. And while her daily routine usually consists of more than an hour of procedures she must do and medications she needs to take to maintain control of her cystic fibrosis, she hasn’t let it slow her down. She has played for the Broadneck High School JV Soccer Team for the last two years, takes dance at Broadneck High and enjoys doing Zumba.
Wendy West has been a long time supporter of cystic fibrosis fundraisers. She is a teacher at Belvedere Elementary School and annually holds fundraising events at the school. West is the co-chair of an upcoming Cystic Fibrosis Walk at the Navy Stadium on June 4. More information can be found at www.cff.org.
While the honoree of this event, Lauren Dowling Tyler, was not able to make the event since she was still recovering from a double lung transplant two weeks ago, many of her family members did. Her husband, Jordan, and 6-month-old daughter, Kaelyn Grace, were among those who were able to be there to enjoy the community’s support and well wishes.
Jordan Tyler said it was amazing and generous what Duran was doing for them and for cystic fibrosis.
Duran said this was their first time hosting a fundraiser of this nature and they plan to continue to hold at least one a year.
Editor's note: Sadly, Cape St. Claire resident Lauren Dowling Tyler passed away on Sept. 6, 2011.