Tammi Brady was only 37 when she lost her husband, Dave Anstadt, 43, to pancreatic cancer.
Now, nine years later, Brady is teaming with Applebee's restaurant to host a pancake breakfast to raise funds for pancreatic cancer research.
Anstadt was diagnosed only two months before the disease took his life Aug. 5, 2002, leaving behind Brady and their two children, ages 5 and 8. It was a tough time for the family, said Brady, and life wasn't good.
"It's just such an ugly disease," Brady, now 46, said. "I don't want anyone else to have to deal with it."
When she heard about Applebee's Flapjack Fundraisers, she knew it was a perfect way to honor Anstadt's memory.
"He used to help make breakfast for our church's men's group sometimes, and one time he tried to make pancakes when he went camping but he forgot the syrup," Brady said, laughing.
The money Brady raises from the breakfast will go to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer. Because Cablevision Systems Corp. underwrites the Lustgarten Foundation's administrative expenses, 100 percent of every donation received goes directly to pancreatic cancer research.
Brady found out about Applebee's fundraiser when she attended one a few months ago to support a friend's cause. Applebee's provides the location, food, cooks, tickets and flyer template, asking for a return of only $1.85 per $7 ticket.
The fundraiser host - in this case, Brady - will provide the hosts and hostesses, servers and busboys. She also will advertise the pancake breakfast and sell tickets.
"Any charitable group can sign up with them," Brady said. "It's only on Saturday mornings, and it happens in a limited area."
Brady, a homemaker with a hand in many charitable organizations, has lived in the Ballantyne area for nearly six years. She moved from Maryland after remarrying. Fortunately for Brady, North Carolina is one of only three states where Applebee's offers the Flapjack Fundraisers.
"We talk about Dave a lot, and my current husband is very supportive," said Brady.
According to Brady, Anstadt was a big guy who was very sweet, gentle and soft-spoken. When she wanted an office, he built her one. When she wanted a finished basement for the kids to play in, he finished the basement.
He worked hard at his job in telecommunications but took time to be with his family and enjoy the outdoors on camping trips.
"He was a wonderful man," said Brady.
Their children, now 14 and 17, also are thrilled about the fundraiser in their father's honor.
"The kids are trying to spread the word among their friends, and a lot of them will be volunteering with the hosting and all of that," said Brady.
Brady hopes to sell at least 200 tickets, which would mean $1,030 would go to the Lustgarten Foundation.