Chicago's 1st annual Crawfish for Cancer charity event

My mother was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2012. By July of 2013, she was gone.

If you’re not sure as to what Multiple Myeloma is, it’s a cancer of the plasma cell that largely effects the bones.

You can read an extensive interview that I had with Dr. Zimmerman of the University of Chicago and Dr. Szatkowski of Illinois Masonic here.

Ever since her passing, I have decided to do whatever I could to raise awareness about the disease and wherever I could, support efforts to find a cure. I have even been a guest panelist on Blog Talk Radio's Cure Talk (if you or someone you know is battling cancer, I highly recommend tuning in.)

Thankfully, I was able to become a member of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s Young Professionals Group and with them, we successfully hosted our first event earlier this year. It’s through my ties to this group that I was able to learn about Chicago’s 1st annualCrawfish for Cancer” charity event which would benefit the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

I’ll admit, I’ve never tasted a “mudbug” before Crawfish for Cancer, however, I am a bonafide lover of all Creole dishes. (Minor side-note: if you’ve never tasted Creole or Louisiana cooking, then you’re missing out) Plus, it was on the beach at the tail end of June. What could be better?

I drove into the city, and was held up at the circle interchange (which, if you’re reading this, and you’re not familiar with the layout of Chicago, the “Circle” is where the Kennedy, Eisenhower and Dan Ryan meet.) With the current construction that’s taking place there, it can, and has made travel in the area nightmarish at times. There are always “those drivers” that act like they’ve never seen an orange cone before. However, I was able to safely maneuver through traffic, construction and drivers who apparently had no idea what they were doing. I quickly found parking and hailed a cab. (Now I know what you’re thinking, “Misty, why didn’t you just drive to the event? You drove into the city. What’s a few more blocks?!” The answer is simple: I despise driving in the city. I’ll drive TO it…but I refuse to drive IN it. Not unless I can help it, anyway.)

I hopped into the back of a yellow cab and told him I needed to head out to Café Oliva. The cabby turned to me and asked me to be more specific as to where it was. I said, “It’s on Ohio beach.” He looked at me for a moment before stating, “I can’t drive on the beach!” I have to say that I was thankful that he concluded apparently some time ago, that driving on the beach would be a bad idea and it was something that he would not do.

Thank you, cab driver. Not only myself, but I’m sure many Chicagoans thank you as well for determining that “off-roading” on the beach was a line you would not cross. I said, “Well, can you get me as close as you can?”

The guy ended up dropping me off several blocks away, because I suppose he felt that was as close as he would drive to the beach. Hey, maybe LOOKING at the beach was something he couldn’t do either.

It’s okay though. Never one to forsake a little exercise, I took the proverbial “heel-toe-express” over to Caffe Oliva and met up with my buddy and his wife.

I really enjoyed the event. Not only were Abita beers on tap, but also Firefly vodka. As we waited for the first batch of crawfish to finish, we enjoyed live music provided by Four Brass Band.

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Admittedly, it was a learning experience as my buddies and I received our first taste of being creeped on by a drone.

No, I didn’t mistype.

A drone.

A drone? Noooo, that's not creepy at all...

A drone? Noooo, that's not creepy at all...

These things have been in the media a lot lately and for the most part I’m cool with whatever people want to do, but you gotta admit, having a drone (that belongs to Only-God-Knows-Who) is a tad unsettling.

I decided then, I don’t like drones.

Anyway, I was the first of my buddies to get up and grab some good ol’ crawfish and give it a taste. My opinion now is that, while the seasoning is delicious, crawfish are far too much work for that little piece of meat that you have to clean off.

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So I can understand why there were so many people scooping massive heaps of the buggers onto their plates in a frenzy. It was like, “Call of the Wild.”  Or something. There wasn’t outright shoving involved, but I’ll be honest, I was surprised that there wasn’t considering the desperation of some folks to get as many crawfish onto their plates!

Overall, I really enjoyed my time there. Café Oliva was a great venue, the Abita beer I sipped was awesome, the food was great and the weather was kind enough to hold out for the majority of the event.

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I don’t know what’s up with our Chicago “summer”, but it hasn’t really been a summer, eh?

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Usually, we have ungodly heat and humidity and this year it’s been kinda on the cool-side and rainy. I’m not trying to complain. Believe me, after the winder we had, I’ll take anything above negative-32 degrees! But it’s been a little cool and rainy, you have to admit.

Well, that day, the weather decided to cooperate for the most part, but inevitably, the clouds rolled in and it was if someone up there popped a water balloon on high and I promise you, sheets of water came down on all of us!

My buddy’s wife was the only one who put on her “thinking cap” that morning and intelligently brought an umbrella with her. We said our “goodbyes” and both she and my buddy found a cab and hopped in, meanwhile, I was trying to flag down a cab on the other side of the street.

I don’t know if any of you have tried to hail a cab near Navy Pier, but good lord! I learned it can be nearly impossible. I promise I stood jumping around like a drowning rat for 10 minutes before a man pulled up next to me, “Are you waiting for Uber?”

I had NO idea what Uber was. I mean, I vaguely recognized the name, but I wasn’t sure what it was so I asked him to repeat himself, which he was kind enough to do. I shrugged and hopped in the back of his car, happy to get out of the pouring rain. The man was kind enough to explain to me what Uber was and patiently waited for me to download the app and activate it.

I told my buddy later and he made fun of me for it, “So basically, if someone wanted to kidnap you, they could just blurt out some random name, claim it’s a business and you’d be like, ‘Sure! Sounds legit!’ and hop in, right?”

“Shut up.”

I have to say that I really enjoy charity events like the one held by Crawfish for Cancer. For what I paid ($60 early bird special) I was able to get all I could eat and drink (which, wasn’t much. One of my buddies called me “a waste of an open bar ticket”) and the money directly benefitted the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

Enjoying time with your buddies, having a beer, eating yummy food and helping a great cause….what could be better?

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