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Archive for Monday, December 23, 2013

Cancer defeated, Bigg’s Barbecue owner ready to help feed hundreds on Christmas

December 23, 2013

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You could forgive Doug Holiday, the amiable owner of Bigg's Barbecue on Iowa Street, if he took this year off from his annual charitable efforts -- smoking 50 turkeys for a free Christmas Day dinner at First United Methodist Church that feeds a thousand mouths.

Mike Yoder/Journal-World Photo.Doug Holiday, owner of Biggs BBQ, 2429 Iowa, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at the end of last summer. After treatments over the past 4 months, he has had positive test results. Holiday and his family will continue their tradition of cooking turkeys on Christmas eve for the Lawrence Community Christmas Wednesday, at First United Methodist Church, 946 Vermont St. In the photo at left, Doug's sons shaved their heads to match his bare scalp on his birthday, after treatments this last August. From left are sons Jacob, 16, Seth, 19, Ben 13, and Doug.

Mike Yoder/Journal-World Photo.Doug Holiday, owner of Biggs BBQ, 2429 Iowa, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at the end of last summer. After treatments over the past 4 months, he has had positive test results. Holiday and his family will continue their tradition of cooking turkeys on Christmas eve for the Lawrence Community Christmas Wednesday, at First United Methodist Church, 946 Vermont St. In the photo at left, Doug's sons shaved their heads to match his bare scalp on his birthday, after treatments this last August. From left are sons Jacob, 16, Seth, 19, Ben 13, and Doug.

The second half of 2013 brought a bout with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which Holiday won, but 600 hours of chemotherapy still weigh on him considerably.

His wife, Shawn, says that during his treatment the goal was to at least make it to the holidays. Now that he has -- not a trace of the cancer remains, Doug says -- it's a matter of getting the family's life back to where it was. That means they'll pick up their tradition of smoking those turkeys, as they've done for nearly a decade.

"There was never a thought in my mind or his mind that he would ever not participate in the community dinner," Shawn says of the one organized by the Community Christmas Dinner Committee.

Doug, 51, was diagnosed in July. He quickly began an aggressive treatment for an aggressive illness. One of every three weeks was spent at Lawrence Memorial Hospital receiving 96 consecutive hours of chemotherapy, he said.

More than a month after his last session, last weak Doug learned he was cancer free. The treatment, nevertheless, left him racked. He used to work 70 hours a week, but in the weeks afterward, he says, he was reduced to 10 hours or less.

Now, his hair starting to come back in, Doug says he has about 60 percent of his energy back, more than enough to help ready those turkeys with Shawn and their three sons, Seth, Jacob and Ben.

It's a lot of work, but Doug and Shawn both speak about the food preparation like any other leisurely holiday tradition: with laughter and reminiscing. Doug says it requires about 12 hours of work apiece, starting Christmas Eve and running through a morning that begins before dawn.

A year off could have been a blessing, but for Doug, Christmas is the essential time of year to give back.

"It is a Lawrence tradition," he says. "And even more this year -- it's even more important to me, just because I got cured at [Lawrence Memorial Hospital], and everybody seems to care."

Comments

Myrone Grady 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Congrats Doug! Great guy and great family!

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Lawrence Morgan 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Thanks so very much! Happy holidays and what you are doing is fantastic.

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3 months, 3 weeks ago

Fantastic news. Proud I can call you and Shawn my friends. Merry Christmas.

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Mike Norris 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Congratulations Doug. You and your family are truly good people!

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Leo Hawkins 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Yea Doug!!! Great news for Doug and his family -- and the Lawrence Community. Doug Holiday is one of the best people in the world.

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Michael Capra 3 months, 3 weeks ago

doug im in will call the marines to help to get it all there

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Jean Robart 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Congratulations! I miss Biggs Barbecue. Never had a bad experience there. I am delighted that your Christmas tradition is up and running for this year. May you have many more successful years in the business.

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Lora Gilliland Schneider 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Congratulations, Doug! Keep kicking cancer's rear! You've been a great friend to Lawrence Area Catbackers and to the community of Lawrence! We're all behind you. Here's to continued healing and a wonderful future!

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