Gautier church held chili cook-off for parishioner with rare blo - - The News for South Mississippi

Gautier church held chili cook-off for parishioner with rare blood disorder


A former Gautier businessman diagnosed with the same rare blood disease as Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts got some much needed financial help Sunday. Sander's church family held a big chili cook-off to raise money. 

Chili lined the tables at First Baptist Church of Gautier as parishioners put their favorite recipes to the test.

"Everybody loves chili," Pastor David Aultman said.  

"We got everything from traditional mild, spicy, super spicy, and we even got into some wildlife flavors of chili," Parishioner Ronney Blakeney said. 

The fundraiser served as a way to lend a helping hand to Mike Sanders and his family because they are going through a rough time right now. 

"On October 24, he was diagnosed with MDS and that is what Robin Roberts has," Kathy Sanders said. 

"The only challenge with Mike is he doesn't have the ability because of physical problems to be able to do the bone marrow transplant. So his treatment would be a continuous life of transfusion and chemo," Blakeney said.

The delicious chili benefit brought in nearly $2,000, which is all going to Sanders for his mountain of medical expenses. 

"I was overwhelmed when I saw how many were here. It is an awesome turnout," Mike Sanders said.

"They have been workers all their lives and they got some insurance, but it is going be a very difficult year ahead of them," Pastor Aultman said.

Pastor Aultman said the success of the fundraiser shows that the church cares about the Sanders.  

"We want to share with them in this journey," Pastor Aultman said.

It's a journey the Sanders family knows will not be easy, but they are happy to know there is so much   support along the way. 

"I love my church family,"  Mike Sanders said. 

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