Turkey shoot benefits boy fighting cancer

Published 8:37 pm Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ben Lassiter lines up a shot at the Chuckatuck Turkey Shoot on Saturday. This season, the shoot is benefiting the family of a local 4-year-old boy who is fighting leukemia. Anyone is welcome at the shoot, even those who don’t have a gun — the regulars will loan theirs out.

Guns fired, pellets went flying and paper targets were ripped to shreds in Chuckatuck on Saturday.

The gloomy weather kept the crowd small, but still about 30 people showed up for the weekly Chuckatuck turkey shoot. Competitors walked away with sausages, hams and other donated prizes.

But the event was about more than who could put a pellet closest to the center of the square target. The shooters were raising money for the family of a 4-year-old boy who has leukemia.

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Michael John Milzcewski was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in August, just two months after his fourth birthday. He has been a trooper through several rounds of intense chemotherapy, said his grandfather, Peter Block.

“It’s just really rough on him right now,” Block said. “He’s very vulnerable.”

Michael Barnes started the turkey shoot a couple of years ago. It previously benefited other charitable organizations, but this year, all the money is going to little Mikey’s family to help pay their numerous co-pays.

“He’s had some pretty rough times,” Barnes said.

Anybody is welcome at the turkey shoot, which costs about $3.50 per shot. Even those who don’t own guns will be welcome, Barnes said.

“Anybody out here will volunteer their gun to a new person,” he said. “That’s turkey shoot etiquette. And nobody gets mad at anybody because everybody’s got a gun.”

Little Mikey comes to the turkey shoot on occasion when he’s able. Block said he loves to come to the shoot to see all the people who are helping him.

“They love him to death,” Block said. “We’re all a family here. They have been a blessing.”

Barnes said everybody at the turkey shoot enjoys helping Michael’s family and just having fun with each other.

“We enjoy it,” he said. “Everybody out here enjoys it. It’s a lot of good camaraderie.”

Since the shoot began in October, about $4,000 has been raised for Michael’s family. Concessions are sold at the event, and the proceeds also go to Michael’s family.

The shoot is held every Saturday through the middle of April at 1146 Audubon Road, off Everets Road in Chuckatuck. Registration begins at 11 a.m. each Saturday, and shooting begins at noon. For more information or updates on weather cancellations, call 288-6167 or search “Chuckatuck Turkey Shoot” on Facebook.