Friends band together to raise money for Fort Worth chef Keith Hicks, ill with COPD

By scott@360westmagazine.comJanuary 31, 2024No Comments
Fort Worth chef Keith Hicks

The group has launched a gofundme page and is holding a fundraiser Jan. 31 at the Ridglea Theatre in Fort Worth

By Scott Nishimura

The original owners and management team of the former Buttons Restaurant have banded together to raise money for chef Keith Hicks, to help him pay for costs related to a double-lung transplant he needs in his fight against COPD.

A gofundme page for Hicks has raised $16,105 of a $50,000 goal. The group is hosting a fundraiser 5 p.m.-midnight Jan. 31 at the Ridglea Theatre, 6025 Camp Bowie Blvd. in west Fort Worth.

“It’s going to be really, really cool,” Hicks, who was behind Buttons’ soul food and music, said in an interview by phone. “I’m going to be in a wheelchair. The hardest part is trying to maIntain being myself.”

The “Button’s Family Affair Benefit Concert” will feature performances by bands that performed in Buttons’ Fort Worth, Addison and DeSoto locations. Confirmed performers include Rob Holbert Band; Natural Change; Melanie Dutton; Paul Cannon; Kenya Crawford; Bergette Rideau; Lori Dawn; Tone Sommers; Monty McKlinton; Quinton Moore; Killa Bug; Linny Nance; Taylor Pace; Stephanie Sallie; Kurt and Ceici Jones; Bobby Counts; Honorary Howard Scott; Fredrick Nicholson Band; Jackie Don Loe; Second Nature; Sam Jones; Roxie and Ashleigh Smith; Lewis Stephens; Velvet and Jerry Clark; Ahmad Johnson; and John Adams.

Former Buttons chefs Billy Kidd and Ty Frazier will serve up southern appetizers from Buttons’ original menu. Food trucks on site will include Fat Face Full by Angie Edwards; Angi’s Louisiana Kitchen; and The Rim Restaurant Waterside. Hicks was most recently associated with The Rim restaurants, which were sold last year.

Performances will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets range from $25 for general admission to $400 for VIP tables, and can be purchased on Eventbrite at the “Button’s Family Affair Benefit Concert” page. The gofundme page will continue to collect gifts.

“It’s been a crazy journey,” said Hicks, 61, who was diagnosed with COPD in November 2018 while being treated in a hospital for pneumonia. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a group of diseases that block airflow and cause various breathing-related problems, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.

Hicks said he’s going through the process of getting on the organ donor list and isn’t certain how much the surgery would cost. A 10-year Army veteran, Hicks said he also isn’t certain how much of the costs might be picked up by his benefits.

“I’m in transition of getting on (the transplant list); this is going to take quite a bit,” he said. Once on the list, Hicks, who lives in Burleson, would be required to move close to the site of the surgery — expected at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas — for a period before and after the surgery.

It’s been more than a year since Hicks worked, he said. “I’m on the oxygen,” he said. “I’ve been doing a little cooking at home, reading, writing of recipes. Ain’t nothing changed but the weather.”

Carolyn Hughes, former co-owner of Buttons and one of the lead fundraisers for Hicks, said “we’ve hosted countless benefit events and celebrations at Buttons Restaurant, due to our love and compassion for the community. I am asking the community to support Chef Keith by attending this benefit concert in his honor. For so many years, he brought so much ‘love, peace and gritz’ to each of our lives and now he needs us.”