Hundreds support high school cancer survivor with Chicken-Q, dance party

Classmate organizes fundraiser for long-time friend, raisies thousands of dollars

A fundraiser Friday for Myles Knoble, a Logan High School senior diagnosed with cancer, was a lot more than he could have expected.

Knoble spent most of the year in chemotherapy away from his friends battling stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“Chemotherapy’s not fun,” he said. “But with everybody around me doing stuff like this and supporting me, it makes it a lot easier.”

The community showed their support at a Chicken-Q at the La Crosse Center and a dance party at the center’s arena, organized by Knoble’s long-time friend and classmate Zak Chaouki.

When Chaouki noticed Knoble’s absence at hockey practices, he didn’t know what was wrong. But in January when he found out Myles had been diagnosed with cancer, he knew he had to do something.

“He’s a great kid. I don’t know what else I can say. He’s just the best friend anyone can ask for,” he said.

Chaouki said his father’s cancer diagnosis last year made him familiar with the financial strain that comes with it.

“It’s really difficult on a family,” he said. “I didn’t want Myles to experience that. I wanted him to focus on his health, not the financial aspect.”

Chaouki said volunteers sold hundreds of Chicken-Q tickets and set the goal at 800 attendees for the dance, with students coming from cities as far away as Baraboo.

“At first, (Myles) thought it was just a little school dance and then it kind of turned into this,” Chaouki said.

“I never would’ve expected my school and all the schools around me to come out and help,” Knoble said. “It’s beyond what I could’ve ever asked for.”

So far, Chaouki has gone beyond even his own expectations.

“Our initial goal for the entire fundraiser was $5,000, and we surpassed that quite a while ago,” he said.

But at the end of the day, it’s not money, but celebration, that’s on both of their minds.

“I get to come see my friends for the first time in a long time and just enjoy people again,” Knoble said.

“Having the community support Myles, there’s no greater feeling,” Chaouki said. “It makes you feel happy inside. You want to dance.”

Knoble and Chaouki had plenty to celebrate. Knoble said he was in remission, and even though he has a long road ahead, he’s feeling better.

The 21-and-under dance goes from 7 p.m. to midnight, and tickets cost $15.

The fundraiser has a number of local sponsors, including one that donated $25,000 of professional sound equipment for tonight’s dance.

In addition to the Chicken-Q and dance, there was a raffle at the La Crosse center, and organizers are accepting donations. There is also a GoFundMe page set up for Myles.

Chaouki said the goal for Friday’s fundraiser was $5,000 to $10,000.