Chip’in for Anniston golf tournament a tee-riffic success

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 21, 2022

LAPLACE — Tricia LeBouef Cancienne has experienced  in the beautiful views in Cabo, the most amazing slopes in Colorado and the most exquisite jewelry in New York City; but the most wonderful sight she has ever seen was at Riverlands Golf and Country Club in LaPlace this past Friday as hundreds banded together in support of her 2-year-old son, Anniston.

The Chip’in for Anniston golf tournament raised money for the Cancienne family to comfortably live in New York as Anniston recovers from an intestinal transplant. Anniston was born with an extremely rare congenital condition called MMIHS, an abdominal distension caused by a largely dilated non-obstructed urinary bladder, very small colon and decrease or absent intestinal movements.

Anniston was left unable to eat or even receive nutrients through a G-tube when doctors realized that all but about four inches of his intestines were necrotic last November. His parents, Darren and Tricia, dreamed of nothing more than being able to give Anniston the same quality of life as his twin brother Greyson and watching both of their boys experience a traditional South Louisiana childhood filled with Cajun food, pool parties and summer days at the ballpark.

Planning for the Chip’in for Anniston Golf Tournament fundraiser began in June as the Cancienne family eagerly awaited the call that signaled it was time for Anniston’s transplant.

The Cancienne family finally got the call on July 16, 2022. They quickly hopped on a plane, and Anniston underwent the procedure on July 17 at Mount Siani Hospital in New York City. While there have been some bumps in the road, Anniston is doing well and remains in good spirits. He is still in the hospital, as recovery from an intestinal transplant is a marathon and not a sprint.

While the procedure is not a cure for MMIHS, it was a medical necessity and a means to improve Anniston’s quality of life.

Anniston’s supporters in the River Parishes are by his side every step of the way. Renee Waguespack, Brandi LeBouef and Kassie Luminais are among the friends and family who were especially instrumental in the success of last week’s fundraising event.

More than 300 golfers participated in a four-man scramble at Riverlands Friday morning, according to LeBouef. An estimated 300 to 500 people had walked through the doors by lunchtime to take part in the on-site live and silent auction and raffles on everything from houseware to freshly baked cakes. Many more attended throughout the course of the day, as the event lasted well into the evening.

Waguespack said the transplant journey has been difficult on the Cancienne family both emotionally and financially as they split their time between Louisiana and New York while caring for their two little boys.

“We hope to raise enough funds to allow Tricia, her husband and Anniston to comfortably live in New York because it’s going to be a number of months that they will actually be living there. He cannot leave the area surrounding the facility while he is being treated. There are risks, including rejection,” Waguespack said. “It’s going to be a long road to recovery; a lifetime of recovery. It’s not that he got a transplant and now he’s done. This is an ongoing medical condition. The family and friends wanted to get together and help ease the financial burden of all of this. We’ve had a lot of response from St. James and St. John parishes. It’s not just the River Parishes; the response from everybody has been overwhelming and unbelievable. We couldn’t have asked for a better community to live in to get the support that we need.”

In a social media post, Tricia Cancienne wrote that you can truly search the world and never find the one-of-a-kind spirit that defines the River Parishes. Seeing how everyone came together at the golf tournament, she knows her family will never be alone in this fight.

Cancienne wished she could bottle up the pure love she saw in people’s eyes and felt in her heart.

“If I could have one wish, it would not be to heal Anniston. It would be for Anniston to feel the love that was at  Riverlands Country Club today for the rest of his life,” she said.

Those who would like to know more about Anniston can follow his journey on the Chip’in for Anniston Facebook page. There is also an account set up in his name at First American Bank where people can donate directly, as well as a Venmo account @TeamAnniston.