Gram with his monster truck cake.
A monster truck loving, happy-go-lucky five-year-old boy from Elsberry was full of life on July 23 as he knew everything at Sami’s on Main was done for him. Gram Edwards was diagnosed with Leukemia on February 10, 2014 and has been paying weekly visits to Children’s Hospital to receive chemotherapy to fight his battle. Through his many treatments and his daily medicine that he must take, the medical bills are starting to pile up on the Edwards family. After hearing about Gram and his tough road ahead, Sami’s on Main decided they wanted to help with a fundraiser night. “It was all about the community’s support that made this event possible. We had so many local businesses that put up the flyers and spoke about the event that it made the night a success. We are open here seven days a week, so it’s the support of others that brought a full house and helped the cause,” mentioned Clayton Bee and Jami Polston, owners of Sami’s on Main. “We just want to thank everyone for coming out and making it a success for Gram. He is a great kid and really deserved all the love and support that he received from everyone that night.”
Sami’s on Main was decorated in monster trucks and had extra staff ready to go for the night, and even held a hot dog eating contest since it was National Hot Dog Day. The staff agreed to donate their checks for the night (from 5 – 10 p.m.), a portion of their tips and a portion of the proceeds, along with all the entry money to participate in the hot dog eating contest. In all, Sami’s on Main raised $2,300 for the Edwards family. Sami’s on Main has also been selling candy bars at their register for about two weeks with all proceeds going back to the family.
“We are so grateful that Sami’s on Main wanted to help,” Butch Edwards, Gram’s father, said. “It’s amazing that so many people could come out and support Gram.”
“This is all for me,” Gram yelled excitedly as he looked around the room full of people and the decorations of monster trucks. Gram was having one of his good days and had just received clearance by the hospital to be able to attend the fundraiser. Donielle Edwards, Gram’s mother added, “We can’t thank everyone enough for all the love and support we have received.”
Randy Santel and Gram Edwards during the hot dog eating contest.
One of the highlights of the evening was when Randy Santel, World-Class Professional Eater/Bodybuilder from Atlas & Zeus Promotions, LLC, came and participated in the hot dog eating contest. About 10 people participated in the event and when Santel came in, Danny Somers, of Troy, had just finished his eighth hot dog in 10 minutes, holding the record for the night. The surprise visit from Santel had everyone cheering as he devoured hot dog after hot dog. Santel has over 180 wins in eating contests in 19 different states and seven different countries. During the 10 minutes Gram sat down next to Santel and ate a hot dog with the champion. As the time was running short, Santel dedicated his last hot dog to Gram saying, “This one’s for you Gram!” as he ate the whole hot dog in one swift bite. In 10 short minutes Santel consumed 20 hot dogs, one glass of water, lemonade, and a diet soda. Santel won the contest easily and donated the $50 gift card that he won back to the Edwards family.
It was a great environment to be in as family, friends and the community came out to support Team Gram “Crushing Cancer”. Another monster truck lover even came down from Cape Girardeau to show Gram her black and pink monster truck.
If you would like to make a donation to the Edwards family for Gram, you can make a donation at People’s Bank & Trust under Gram Edwards.
You can find more information about Randy Santel at RandySantel.com or on Facebook, Youtube or Twitter.
Randy Santel and Gram Edwards after the hot dog eating contest. Santel consumed 20 hot dogs while Gram finished one in the 10 minutes.