Edward and Sally Buecker were dealt the toughest hand a parent could face, losing their son, Bobby, at the tender age of 15. Rather than fold, the Buecker family and their friends have organized their efforts to honor Bobby's memory, and help others in the process.

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Bobby Buecker was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called sarcoma in 1996 at the age of 13 years old. While the family dealt with the crisis, the community of Brick and surrounding areas mobilized, forming a group called Friends Of Bobby Buecker. The outpouring of money and support was overwhelming.

"We just can't speak enough about their generosity and what they've done for us as a family, and to keep us going," Edward explained.

In 1998, Bobby unfortunately lost his battle with the disease. The Bueckers had a lot of leftover money that was raised for them that they did not feel comfortable using after Bobby's death, so they did the noble thing and began paying it forward.

That was the birth of the grass-roots campaign that is today known as the Bobby Buecker Memorial Foundation. They began helping anybody they could going through an illness-related crisis, spreading their message via word of mouth. The superfluous funds lasted until 2006, at which point the family had a choice to make.

They did not have a formal charity, at that point in time, but decided to incorporate and continue to spread their generosity in Bobby's name.

"The distress of a disease in a family never comes at a time when you planned, so there's certainly obstacles that you have to overcome," Edward says.

Buecker estimates that the charity is able to assist around 30 families each year, "filling in the gaps" on unforeseen costs associated with illness. These services include meals, travel expenses, and sometimes even just cash for a family.

One of the great things about the charity is that its simplistic, grass-roots nature, with no overhead and bureaucracy to speak of.

"There's no six pages of questionnaires that they have to fill out," said Sally Buecker, "It's just word of mouth."

At the centerpiece of the fundraising is annual dinner dance, this year dubbed as "Cocktails, Carrabba's & The Infernos."

Many local businesses donate goods and services for this annual event, with Carrabba's in Brick providing all of the food and the Infernos as the entertainment. More than 50 volunteers help with the process of setting up this large annual event, including long-time friend John Catalano. The event takes place in February because that is when Bobby's birthday is. This year's dinner dance was on February 26th, and it was yet another success.

Most importantly, it gives the family and community a chance to honor Bobby Buecker.

"His short life meant a lot on this earth," Edward explained, "In that span of time, his life generated tons of generosity."

Learn more by visiting them online.

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