Bluffton’s young fighters, clockwise from top left: Kailey Morris, Krystal Buck, Daws Skager and Kendall Brody. A community cookbook is being prepared to raise funds for the youngsters’ health care costs.

Bluffton residents and Lowcountry chefs are sharing their passion to help raise money for a quartet of families tackling unthinkable medical battles.

A locals cookbook project has spawned out of a post in the Bluffton Then and Now Facebook group by local historian Paul Tollefson. He posted a link to a classic collection of recipes from the Episcopal Church of the Cross from 1971. 

The pamphlet-sized book included a deviled crab recipe from Naomi McCracken, a chicken chow mein recipe from the Mingledorff family, a red rice recipe from Margaret Heyward, a chicken loaf masterpiece from Olive Pinckney, and a shrimp pilau recipe from Edith Inglesby among its mix of culinary gems.

Members of the What’s Happening in Bluffton Facebook group loved the cookbook post and raised the possibility of doing a similar project to help a number of kids facing uphill hospital ordeals.

Nine-year-old Red Cedar Elementary student Kendall Brodie was diagnosed in early February with Stage 2 neuroblastoma, an extremely rare form of cancer. She is the daughter of Brandy and Beav Brodie, the founder of Bluffton-based Tactical Baby Gear. 

You may have seen the “Kick Ass Kendall” and “Team Kendall” shirt around town. That’s all to raise Kendall’s spirits and show her the visual love as she endures this battle.

River Ridge Academy eighth grader Kailey Morris was diagnosed around the same time with a brain tumor. Kailey is a cheerleader at RRA and the entire school community has rallied to support her and her family.

Three-year-old Bluffton Early Childhood Center student Daws Skager has recently completed the latest round of chemotherapy treatment (his eighth round overall) to battle a brain tumor as well. He’s a little farther down the road of illness, but the family still needs our support. Daws is currently enduring a proton radiation treatment, just the latest step in his fight against the wave of symptoms.

Daws’ smile and spirit have captured the hearts of everyone that has heard about his battle – knowing of someone so young having to endure so much pain has brought everyone out to support the Skagers. A recent toy drive fundraiser at BECC and Bluffton Elementary lifted Daws’ spirits mightily before a new group of setbacks have his family praying for a miracle.

“Considering his platelet issues, kidney issues, sodium issues, respiratory issues, and now neurological issues, (his doctor) doesn’t think Daws would survive a stem cell transplant,” his mom, Stephanie Skager, said in a Jan. 31 Facebook post. “Our other option is more radiation, and really, we aren’t sure if he would make it through daily sedation, and if he does, would the final product leave enough of Daws left to make it worth it? Scott and I are left with the decision: Do we fight ’til his last breath or leave the hospital and live like he were dying … because he is. I think we are both still stuck in a land between devastation and denial.”

Bluffton Middle Schooler Krystal Buck is a little farther into a battle with leukemia she began in July, but the battle is no less intense today. 

Krystal is still enduring chemotherapy treatments and is struggling emotionally just not being able to be around all her friends on a day-to-day basis. She was able to attend and watch the girls’ basketball team play in the playoffs, just sitting with family away from the crowd to minimize compromising her immune system. 

She was able to have Chic-Fil-A for the first time in months (chemo made her lose the taste for it), but her meds wore off soon after and she immediately battled a headache, nausea and stomach pain.  

“We make the most of the time we have,” said her mother, Windy Buck, in a Feb. 6 Facebook post. “There will be a small break and then two weeks that will be really, really hard. Pray for my baby. And her mom and dad’s aching hearts.”

The cookbook project is one way to show ongoing support for these families. Pre-orders are being taken with the final cookbook expected to ship in mid-April. You can order your copy in the store section at

Recipes are being accepted through the end of February, as we are looking to get as many dining delights as possible out in this cookbook. Email your favorite recipe to to be included. 

Tim Wood is a veteran journalist based in Bluffton.