Despite rain, benefit for boy with brain cancer a success

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 22, 2012

By David Vitrano


LAPLACE – In a community that has been stretched to the limits of emotion and giving lately, hundreds of local residents managed to squeeze a little more compassion out as they turned out for the Knock Out For Nicholas.

The event, a benefit for 5-year-old Nicholas Hooge of LaPlace who was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor in May, drew crowds to LARAYO despite heavy downpours Saturday. Hooge had surgery to remove the tumor and is currently undergoing radiation treatments at Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

Aside from the day’s events, which included a fun run, a swim-a-thon, a cabbage ball tournament, a fried fish dinner, a washer board tournament, a home run derby, a live auction and a horseshoe tournament, attendees were able to visit with the man of the hour himself. Hooge had just returned home with his parents, Mike and Yvette, for a five-week break between radiation treatments.

“His spirits are good,” said Yvette Hooge. “He’s smiling. He’s laughing. He has yet to want to go home today.”

And by all accounts, Nicholas Hooge has been recovering nicely.

“Six weeks ago, he couldn’t hold his head up,” said Yvette Hooge. “He rode a bike yesterday. He’s amazing.”

Leslie Faucheux, who helped organize the event, said everything just kind of fell into place. Various coaches had suggested holding individual events as benefits, so Faucheux helped coordinate them so they could all happen on the same day.

Faucheux’s giving spirit, a spirit that has been abundantly evident in the past few days, helped make the event happen even though she did not know the Hooge family beforehand.

“We just felt that we needed to do something for this family,” she said.