When my friend Joey Natour, co-owner of Pete’s Coffee Shop suggested that I write about an upcoming “brinner,” which would include beer pairings from Casual Pint, I had some questions. First, what’s a “brinner?” Simple enough he told me, “Haven’t you ever had breakfast for dinner?” As a matter of fact, I have. Still, beer seemed to be an odd pairing choice and what was all this happening for, anyway?
It turns out the story isn’t really about breakfast, dinner, beer or any of the fun that will, no doubt, accompany the event. The story is about a young lady who needs your help. Kristen McCallaster, a 21-year-old Knoxville native has been through a lot in her lifetime, having been diagnosed with both Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis- JIA (an autoimmune disease) and Hypogammaglobulinemia/CVID (a primary immune disease). The diseases and the complications surrounding them have resulted in a long journey that now includes confinement to a wheelchair and has her family living in a Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham, Alabama where she currently receives treatment. She was in the ICU there just last week.
Once focused on a normal childhood filled with gymnastics and competitive swimming, since her diagnoses, she has become very involved with the Arthritis Foundation and has mentored others living with chronic illnesses. She is the Arthritis Foundation’s Youth Representative for the Southeast Region Leadership Council and she serves on the Young Adult Committee for the 2015 National JA Conference. Obviously an exceptional young person, she and her family have become saddled with enormous debts as a result of the illnesses.
That’s where Alan Kanuth, a family friend and co-owner of the downtown Casual Pint, comes in. He and Joey have offered brinners before, but they decided to do this one as a fund-raiser for Kristen and her family. Joey plans to cook up some of his best breakfast dishes – including a Cinnamon Swirl French Toast which he says will change your world – while Alan has carefully selected a group of interesting beverages to complement each dish.
The Beer Brinner happens at 6:30 PM this Saturday at Pete’s. Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 at the door. You can buy yours here. The hope is that tickets will sell out and participants will also make donations. Every penny in ticket sales and donations goes to Kristen and her family. She’s personally raised over $50,000 for the Arthritis Foundation, so it’s time to help her a bit.
If you’d like to support her further, you can pledge to her Jingle Bell Run/Walk page where she has raised nearly $1500 toward her goal of $2500. The Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis happens December 12 on the World’s Fair Park and it’s another good way to support those with similar debilitating diseases.
While you consider if you’d like to get involved, here’s a final word from Kristen that gives you a feel for the determination of this special this young lady. Please give her your support.