Qing 4 the cure 2008
11-years-old when he died, a photo of Justin Harris sits on the stage as "Across The Miles" performs at Quing for a Cure.
John Atkins of "Pigs on the Run" checks the meat as it continues to cook at Quing for a Cure at Hugh K. Cassell Elementary School.
Eric Blum, Dan Hixon and John Atkins remain outside near the cooker as the meet continues to cook during Quing for a Cure.
Kim Lowry, Gary Cline and Krista Hendricks serves customers while volunteering at Quing for a Cure.
Gary Cline and Trish Shaffer serves customers while volunteering at Quing for a Cure.
Dan Hendricks serves customers while volunteering at Quing for a Cure.
By Christina M. Mitchell/staff
WAYNESBORO — The smell of smoked pork wafted in from the kitchen at Hugh K. Cassell Elementary School on Saturday.
Around the tables usually reserved for school lunches, a couple hundred people — most of them adults — sat munching on barbecue and listening to bluegrass.
The second annual 'Qing for a Cure drew in friends, neighbors and even a few strangers for a fundraiser in memory of Justin Harris, one little boy whose passions included cooking barbecue and raising money for cancer patients.
In 2005, Justin, then a fourth-grader at Cassell Elementary, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. He died in May after more than a year of battling the disease, but even in his final days, Justin's focus was on how he could help other people, especially at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the place that had so helped Justin and his family. A junior champion barbecue cook, Justin helped run the first 'Qing for a Cure, conducted last January.
On Saturday, his father, Mark Harris, said he knew Justin would be happy to see his friends and family continue to support his cause. In addition to raising money for St. Jude, the proceeds from Saturday's event will benefit the Ronald McDonald House and another local family battling cancer.
"The last two years, people have given us a lot, and we just wanted to do something to give back to the community and let them know we appreciate their support," Harris said.
In the next year, Pigs on the Run, the Virginia-based barbecue team that the Harrises participate in, want to form 'Qing for a Cure into a non-profit organization.
Outside behind the school kitchen Saturday, most of the members of Pigs on the Run stood in the cold tending to General Lee, the orange-sided smoker that Justin named before he died.
Four other barbecue teams had volunteers in the kitchen and on the serving line.
Justin, as family friend and fellow Pigs on the Run cook John Atkins described him, was a kid who liked Virginia Tech, race cars and barbecue.
At Justin's memorial service earlier this year, Atkins said the boy had left him a message for his uncle to pass on: "U.Va. will never beat Tech, and he's always a better cook than I am," Atkins recalled with a chuckle.
The team said they came out Saturday to remember Justin, and even though this year's crowd seemed a bit smaller than last, it's something they'll keep on doing for as long as they can draw somebody to eat at their table.
"If they're willing to support us, we're willing to come out here and do this," said Eric Blum, the Pigs on the Run team member who first suggested last year's event. "The seeds are planted, now let's grow it."