CHARLOTTE – When Tammi Brady read in the newspaper a few years ago that Ron Rivera’s brother was battling pancreatic cancer, she wrote the Carolina Panthers coach a supportive letter.
The news hit home for Tammi because she lost her husband, Dave Anstadt, to the disease in 2002.
She told Rivera about a charity she raised money for called the Lustgarten Foundation, which specializes in pancreatic cancer research. Rivera reached out to her and wanted to help.
That’s how Rivera became a key ingredient in the success of Pancakes for a Purpose. Rivera has donated autographed Panthers gear signed by him and players to raffle off during the breakfast.
The breakfast has raised $69,031 over the past seven years.
Her first husband enjoyed cooking.
“Of course, the kids liked it when he would make pancakes,” Tammi said. “He was one of those people who didn’t need a recipe. He would see what we had and throw it together, especially if it was on the grill.”
Tammi said the pancake breakfast makes for a good family-friendly event. Holding it toward the end of February or beginning of March helps, because people associate pancakes with colder weather, she said.
Pancakes for a Purpose used to be held at Applebee’s, but the restaurant eventually closed. Blackfinn in Ballantyne Village welcomed the fundraiser last year.
“It was a hit,” Tammi said. “Everyone loves that location.”
She’s excited about one guest already scheduled to appear. A representative from the Lustgarten Foundation is making an effort to attend this year’s event.
All of the proceeds from the event have been donated directly to the foundation. Tammi and her husband, Bob, don’t even use proceeds from the event to pay for the venue. They pay that out of their own pockets.
Tammi has held off on inviting Rivera to this year’s event, since the Panthers are coming off a heartbreaking loss to the New Orleans Saints in the NFL Playoffs. She hopes he comes though.
Want to go?
The eighth annual Pancakes for a Purpose takes place 8 to 11 a.m. Feb. 24 at Blackfinn, 14825 Ballantyne Village Way. Tickets cost $10. Buy them by visiting www.pancakesforapur pose.org or calling 704-408-1500.