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Fundraiser to help three boys who lost mother to cancer

Blake, Zach and Jourdan Brandt show off the shirts being sold to raise money for a college fund for them. The shirts honor their mother, Julie, who died of cancer in June. (Pippi Mayfield/Record)

Earlier this summer, Julie Brandt passed away at the age of 36, leaving behind her three young boys. Friends couldn't stand thinking of the family without a mother and without a saving account for the boys when they get older.

So family friend Kelli Mack decided to take the lead and organize a yearly benefit for the Brandt boys by selling T-shirts to coincide with the Dick Beardsley half marathon and run/walk Sept. 11. The "Running to Remember" T-shirts are available for $30 to help build a college fund for Zach, Jourdan and Blake.

"Their mother battled breast cancer four years ago and made it through that," Mack explained. "Then she started having a lot of headaches this last January, went in and it had metastasized throughout her brain."

She went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and the cancer was back and had spread throughout her body. She came home on hospice.

"In January, initially, they treated it and gave her a period of about three years (to live)," Mack said. "They went down to Mayo that first weekend in May, and it had gone throughout her entire body. They sent her home on hospice, and I suppose it was three weeks and she passed away.

"Now here's Randy (Julie's husband) with three boys and what to do."

Mack talked to Randy and set up a benefit account at First Security Bank before Julie had passed away. But after she passed away, Mack came up with the idea of an annual fund-raiser.

"It's just basically community support to honor her through the struggle she went through," she said.

Any money raised, which because of donations from BTD and Lakeshirts will be 100 percent of sales, will go into a college savings fund for Zach, Jourdan and Blake.

Although Mack said she didn't know Julie real well, it's about supporting the family.

"If something were to happen to me, who would step up and help out," she said is one reason she got involved. Mack's husband, Brad, and Randy have been friends since they were young. "I'm hoping to do an annual thing. It's about honoring her."

Although the initial deadline for T-shirt pre-orders has passed, Mack said she will be handing out the pre-purchased shirts and selling some extra she has at the Beardsley run Sept. 11 and the night before at the spaghetti feed. She said she can certainly order more T-shirts if someone wants to purchase one still.

For more information, call Mack at 234-6747 or the Lincoln Education Center at 847-4418.