Party With A Purpose
Jason and Jeff Hillman host a benefit in memory of their father.
JENNIFER FINER STAFF WRITER
ason and Jeff Hillman nev-
er heard of the Children's
Leukemia Foundation un-
til the organization and a
variation of the disease it ad-
dresses crept slowly into their
The brothers, both in their ear-
ly 20s, are still coping with the
reality of their father's recent
death. Bruce Hillman died last
September from complications
associated with agnogenic-
myeloid-metaplasia, a form of
But the Hillman brothers, who
learned by their father's exam-
ple, are doing what they can to
help the organization that offered
their family assistance during
Mr. Hillman's illness.
On May 16, Jason of Birming-
ham, and Jeff, who lives in Hunt-
ington Woods, are holding a
fund-raiser at the Royal Oak Mu-
sic Theatre, also known as 4th
Street. The party is four days be-
fore what would have been Mr.
Hillman's 51st birthday.
Proceeds raised from the $12
cover charge will benefit the Chil-
dren's Leukemia Foundation of
Although the Hillmans are
sending out invitations to friends
and family, anyone over 21 is wel-
come, and tickets are available
only at the door.
The name of the foundation
can be misleading. It serves both
children and adults who have dis-
orders of the blood (such as
leukemia) and/or lymphatic sys-
tem and bone marrow. In addi-
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tion to funding research projects
and serving as an information
clearing house, the foundation
provides a variety of financial as-
sistance to patients and their
The CLF offered the Hillmans
gasoline coupons to help offset
the cost of driving to Ann Arbor,
where Mr. Hillman was hospi-
In the case of the Hillman
brothers, the benefit is a classic
case of wanting to give back to
the group that helped them
through a hard time.
"This is a no-brainer for us to
do," said Jason about holding the
event. "It comes automatically.
Our dad held a blood drive, and
we're trying to give back as well.
This is the kind of thing I think
he would have done himself."
Before Mr. Hillman under-
went a bone-marrow transplant,
he organized what turned out to
be a highly successful blood dri-
ve at the recreation center in
Huntington Woods. He wanted
to replace what blood he would
use from the Red Cross.
Jason, who is a reporter for
PASS, and Jeff, a student at
Wayne State University, hope to
raise between $10,000 and
$20,000 for the Children's
Leukemia Foundation. If the
event is successful, they would
like to make it an annual one.
"The two of us are aware of
what other people who are in the
same predicament we were in
will have to go Jason and Jeff
said. "As much as this is in mem-
ory of our dad, it's also to provide
assistance and peace of mind to
others who may be stricken with
the same thing."
Renting and staffing the club
will cost the Hillmans $6,500, but
that's where corporate sponsor-
ship comes in handy.
D.O.C., Roots Canada, Cactus
Creek Micro Brew, Lone Star
Coffee Co. and Moosejaw Moun-
taineering each agreed to pledge
$1,000 to offset the costs associ-
ated with the event.
Jeff first approached his broth-
er with the idea in December, and
they immediately worked to get
the concept off the ground.
Jeff began making the
arrangements to rent out the
Royal Oak Music Theatre and ac-
quired sponsorship; Jason han-
dled the publicity. "I found a new
respect for my mom for when she
planned my bar mitzvah," said
Jeff, half-joking. "It's hectic be-
cause we've never done it before.
Next time, it will probably be eas-
Planning the fund-raiser is
hectic because of all the small de-
tails. The Hillmans don't mind
taking care of them, because in
the end, they said, it will all be
"My dad said in his journal
(Mr. Hillman kept a journal dur-
ing his illness) that he felt he had
given us enough to go ahead and
make our own way and succeed,
despite some bumps in the road,"
Jason said. "This is probably
what he was talking about."