Bongofest to support Fleming’s cancer diagnosis

Justin Miller TimesNewspapers
Bill "Bongo" Fleming

Chillicothe residents are again gathering to support one of their own who needs a helping hand.

Bill “Bongo” Fleming, who owns Blarney Castle, is diagnosed with prostate cancer, as well as being a stroke victim, and is undergoing treatment.

“It’s just really overwhelming when people step up to help you like they are,” Fleming said.

While Fleming has not asked for help, a committee has formed to raise funds for him.

The funds are going into an account at the Chillicothe branch of South Side Bank, which is accepting donations.

A benefit for Fleming called “Bongofest” begins Saturday at 11 a.m. Oct. 13 at the Peoria Casting Club.

The benefit was organized by the committee, made up of 10 committee heads and 25 volunteers who have met weekly since July.

“They were setting this up before they said anything to me,” Fleming said. “I was pretty oblivious about it. I went out to dinner with a few friends one night, and we came back and they told me they were doing it. I told them that I hope they knew what they were doing!”

At the event, there are expected to be more than 100 volunteers helping to make sure the night goes smoothly.

“I’ve always thought of Blarney Castle as a family,” committee member Angie Wilmington said. “I worked there in the past and we just wanted to come together as a family and set up something to help. He has done so much for the community that we wanted to help him.”

At the benefit, there will be food, a silent auction, a live auction, a bags tournament, raffles, facepainting and games.

Raffle tickets can be purchased for $2 individually or $20 for a book and raffle prizes include a 40-inch TV, a Maui Jim sunglass package, tickets to a 2013 Cubs game and one large pizza per month from Blarney Castle for a year.

The committee is still looking for items for the auctions as well as donations.

“These people really went above and beyond for this,” Fleming said. “It’s kind of hard to understand why people do what they do, but I have a lot of friends and the ones I have are damn good ones.”

For information on the bags tournament, contact Cody Jackson at 573-4889.

For information on the bake sale, which will be accepting donations at 8:30 a.m. the day of the event and all week, contact Carol Loser at 274-4833.

For more information or to make a donation to the auction, contact Michelle Kerr at 648-6326.