SYCAMORE – Phil Watkins is used to being in charge of the kitchen, whipping up meals as chef of Sweet Dream Desserts, 1969 DeKalb Ave. in Sycamore, while his wife, Deanna, does the baking.
But since October 2017, Phil has been using a wheelchair. His right leg was amputated below the knee after he had complications with diabetes. Deanna has been doing most of the cooking as well as the baking, and their two daughters, Jayme and Taryn, have stepped up to help.
The family is raising $20,000 to buy a prosthetic leg and the therapy and care needed to learn to use it, none of which is covered by insurance.
To raise money for the prosthesis, family friends Brenda and Tony Bannon have organized Pasta with a Purpose. The fundraiser will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at St. Mary’s Parish Activity Center, 322 Waterman St. in Sycamore. The evening will include a benefit dinner featuring Phil’s mostaccioli, salad, garlic bread and coffee, a raffle and a silent auction. Desserts made by Sweet Dream Desserts will be available for sale. Admission at the door is $10 a person.
Tony Bannon said he’s known the Watkins family for years, ever since he worked with Deanna and their families attended the same church.
“Many, many people know Phil and Deanna because of their cupcakes, their cakes and their generosity,” Tony Bannon said. “They’ve done a lot of fundraising through the years and have always been there to help. When I saw that they needed help, I wanted to repay them for all their generosity.”
“Deanna and Phil helped us when we organized the Irish Dinner Dance years ago, and they have always been a big part of our lives, helping and supporting us,” Brenda Bannon said. “When we heard they were trying to raise money for Phil’s prosthesis, we knew we had to do something, so we organized this event.”
Deanna Watkins said she looks forward to her husband regaining his mobility once he receives a prosthetic leg.
“It’s been difficult having him tell us step-by-step what to do, he’s had to give us directions on how to cook from his wheelchair,” Deanna Watkins said. “We’ve had amazing help from our family and employees, but we’re ready to have him walk again. We can’t wait for him to get back on his feet, doing what he loves.”
Those interested in donating, but who are unable to attend the fundraiser, can visit the family’s GoFundMe page.
Checks addressed to Deanna Watkins can be dropped off at the St. Mary’s church office in Sycamore.