Diner donation drive aims to help families hit by cancer

The owner of 29 Diner, John Wood (left), with friend and cancer survivor Pat Malone. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
The owner of 29 Diner, John Wood (left), with friend and cancer survivor Pat Malone. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

Feeding the barbecue smoker in front of 29 Diner during owner John Wood's 29 hour cooking marathon. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Feeding the barbecue smoker in front of 29 Diner during owner John Wood’s 29-hour cooking marathon. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

Inside 29 Diner in Fairfax, which has been open since 1947. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Inside 29 Diner in Fairfax, which has been open since 1947. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

Thanks to its classic neon sign, 29 Diner is hard to miss near the intersection of Fairfax Boulevard and Route 123 in Fairfax. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Thanks to its classic neon sign, 29 Diner is hard to miss near Fairfax Boulevard and Route 123 in Fairfax. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

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The owner of 29 Diner, John Wood (left), with friend and cancer survivor Pat Malone. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Feeding the barbecue smoker in front of 29 Diner during owner John Wood's 29 hour cooking marathon. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Inside 29 Diner in Fairfax, which has been open since 1947. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
Thanks to its classic neon sign, 29 Diner is hard to miss near the intersection of Fairfax Boulevard and Route 123 in Fairfax. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)

WASHINGTON — Helping families of kids with cancer is the goal of a fundraising drive going on at 29 Diner in Fairfax, Virginia.

Starting Sunday, Feb. 28 and ending Monday, Feb. 29, the owner of 29 Diner, John Wood, spent 29 straight hours cooking.

“How I’m feeling right now? Feeling just overwhelmed with joy and happiness,” he said near the end of his marathon.

The point was to get customers to donate to an effort aimed at Inova Children’s Hospital.

“My goal was to always be able to provide some relief for the families who are there dealing with a child who has cancer,” he said.

Wood’s plan is to give an endless supply of gift certificates to those moms and dads, so they don’t have to worry about cooking while a child is in treatment.

His $3,000 goal has been reached, but 29 Diner will continue to collect donations for the drive until March 10.

“Instead of just giving a gift for a couple thousand dollars, why don’t we pull off something that touches families year in and year out?” he said.

Wood lost his mother to cancer, and since taking over the diner about two years ago he’s held several other fundraisers to support veterans, law enforcement and area homeless shelters.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

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