The Winkle family’s move to Memphis was an abrupt one made out of necessity, but the community they have found since arriving has helped to make a difficult transition a little easier to bear.
The Winkles were living in China, but were in the states to finalize the adoption of their youngest child when nine-year-old Micah began to complain of leg pain. When the pain continued to progress, he was taken to his doctor and an X-ray revealed a tumor.
Micah was promptly brought to Memphis to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where doctors diagnosed him with a rare cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. He began treatment in early 2015 which included 20 rounds of chemotherapy, and surgery to remove the tumor and replace his femur with a titanium rod.
Micah is now 12 years old and the Winkles have moved to Memphis to remain close St. Jude should a need for further treatment arise. Micah’s father Jason says that on top of the exceptional care that they received at St. Jude, they’ve been embraced by Memphians, resulting in small everyday kindnesses and larger support like today’s event at Babalu Tapas & Tacos.
Today, December 6th, Babalu becomes Micah’s Taco Shop and $1 from every taco sold at the Overton Square and East Memphis locations will go to help with Micah’s ongoing medical expenses. The Winkles were nominated for Babalu’s pop-up fundraiser by another family they’d met at St. Jude that got to participate a couple of years ago.
What we knew about Memphis before coming here for Micah’s treatment was Elvis and good BBQ. Now after living here, we can definitely confirm the good BBQ and so many other delicious foods! But what has been most impactful and meaningful is to see and experience the way this city rallies around St. Jude. We’ve had homeless men pray for Micah, auto mechanics do work on our car at cost, just so many people from very diverse backgrounds and economic statuses show compassion and concern because we are a St. Jude family. We’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else. And obviously this trend continues with how Babalu is including the Memphis community in supporting Micah along this journey. We think Danny Thomas got it right when he chose Memphis for St. Jude! — Jason Winkle
Micah will be at the Overton Square location to help take orders during lunch, and will be at the East Memphis location for dinner. Check out his time behind the scenes at the restaurant including the making of his signature taco.