Second Annual Bad to the Bone Chili Cook Off

In Memory of Sam Merkel and Collin Rives

October 14, 2017/ Troy Township Park
409 Collinsville Road, Troy, IL 62294
5:00 pm -10:00 pm

Chili Cook Off/Live Music/Beer/Silent Auction/Raffles /COOKIES FOR COLLIN!

At this years Bad to the Bone Chili Cook Off we are very happy to honor Collin Rives and his Family.  Collin’s story is much like Sam’s.  Please take time to read a short version of his story and help me welcome Collin’s family to this event.

Collin’s family misses him terribly and would like to help raise funds for osteosarcoma research.  They don’t want other families to go through what they did. They will be offering cookies for purchase.  COOKIES FOR COLLIN!

Sam’s Story

In July 2013, Sam Merkel was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a Pediatric Bone Cancer.  Sam underwent four months of in-patient chemotherapy, followed by reconstructive surgery on his leg. Sam had a complete knee replacement where the cancer was originally found, along with removing eight inches of his femur which was replaced by a prosthesis as well.  Sam then had four more months of chemotherapy and a lot of physical therapy.  Sam spent nine long months in the hospital, with very little breaks to come home.

In October 2014, Sam began experiencing facial numbness. When Sam arrived back at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and a MRI was conducted, the doctors confirmed that the cancer was back, although this time, it was in his skull.

In November 2014, Sam underwent a craniotomy that showed that the lesion in his skull was unable to be removed – it was also Osteosarcoma.  After monthly scans, Sam was let down once again.  Sam’s Osteosarcoma had metastasized to his lungs.  Sam was running out of options, until Sam was approached with a clinical trial at Siteman Cancer Center in the spring of 2015.  It was a blessing.  Sam was one spot out of 80.  People from all over the United States with Sarcoma were hoping to get into the Immunotherapy trial.  Immunotherapy is one of the latest advancements in Cancer therapy.  This was a very different treatment compared to Sam’s other treatments.  Sam was able to attend college, eat his favorite meals without nausea, and spend precious time with friends and family.  Sam’s family and friends are truly thankful for the Immunotherapy trial, because it allowed Sam to acquire more time doing the things he loved here on earth.

On December 29, 2015, after a two-and-a-half year fight, Sam lost his battle with cancer. We are grateful for the research clinical trials that gave Sam more time to live.

Collin’s Story    

In August of 2015, Collin Rives was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma (bone cancer). After his first set of scans it was determined that his cancer had metastasized to his lungs. Collin had 4 months of intensive chemotherapy and then 3 days before Christmas Collin underwent surgery to remove the tumor from his femur. Collin had a section of his femur and his knee taken out and replaced. Collin continued chemotherapy. His treatment options were changed several times because he continued to have growth in the tumors in his lungs.

In December Collin had lumps on his body and after having them biopsied it was determined that they were osteosarcoma.

On December 26, 2016 we found out that Collin’s cancer had spread to his brain and that he was not curable. Collin passed away on 1/31/17. During his battle Collin’s courage never faltered and he continued to be a loving son, brother, grandson, and friend.


Please consider supporting our event by donating gift certificates, merchandise, or services.

100% of proceeds will go to Osteosarcoma Research at Washington University.

Last year $26,000.00 was raised at our first Chili Cook-off.   All $26,000 was donated  to Washington University School of Medicine Osteosarcoma Research.  This year our goal is to raise $30,000.00.

In exchange, you will receive some excellent community exposure and advertising; your company name, address, phone number, and donation will be listed at the silent auction.

Any questions regarding this event, or to arrange someone to pick up your donation, please contact Dawn Merkel at:

Phone: 618-792-2168
Address: Dawn Merkel, 413 Buena Vista, Edwardsville, IL 62025