Friends and customers of Zarzour’s Café in Chattanooga are hosting a Fuller Fundraiser this Saturday at the Fountainhead Taproom, 1617 Rossville Ave., just off Main Street. It is a birthday bash, concert and auction being held to raise money and support for the restaurant’s owners, Shannon and Dixie Fuller. Shannon was diagnosed with stage four cancer in early December and her medical bills are piling up.
Dixie Fuller was laid off from Friends of the Festival at the beginning of the pandemic so medical expenses have been all out-of-pocket.
Shannon and Dixie and other family members have helped the homeless and our community for decades. Zarzour's is the oldest restaurant in Tennessee and has been home-base for their generosity since 1918.
David Carroll, one of the fundraiser organizers, said, "Now, the community has the opportunity to repay them for decades of good food and good hearts. Come ready to celebrate Shannon's birthday, hear live music, buy auction items and make Shannon and Dixie laugh, smile, and feel the love."
The musical entertainment schedule includes:
Sam Steadman 4:30-5:15
No Big Deal 6:00-6:45
Roger Alan Wade 7-7:45
Amber Carrington 8-9
Plus Special Guests and Auction items throughout the event.
One of the items being auctioned off is a multiple-autographed copy of the 2011 book "Chattanooga Radio and Television" written by TV and radio host David Carroll. For the past 10 years, he has collected signatures from most of the celebrities pictured in the book. National Radio Hall of Fame member Luther Masingill, Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame members Tommy Jett, Jim Reynolds, Bill (Dex) Poindexter, Keith Landecker, Earl Freudenberg, Scott Chase, and Gene Lovin, plus Pat Boone, (Miss) Marcia Kling, Bob Johnson, Darrell Patterson, Don Welch, Cindy Sexton, Paul Barys, and many past and present TV and radio personalities are included among 70 in all.
Mr. Carroll said, "When I heard that Shannon Fuller needed help with the financial challenges of her cancer battle, I decided that this book might be a way to raise some money for her. I know that someone will cherish this book, and I am honored to make it available to help Shannon and Dixie."
Also on the auction list are vacation packages to Minnesota and Hawaii, artwork, a signed shadowbox featuring photos of Tennessee basketball coaches Rick Barnes and Kelley Harper, rare albums, a $500 gift card from Barn Nursery, memorabilia from the Alabama band (longtime friends of Dixie Fuller), rare guitars, a Dale Earnhardt Sr. jacket, and a Christmas gift basket. More auction items are being added daily.
Cindy Fuller Thomas wrote recently:
The most important thing in my life is my family. As we begin the journey with my brother, Dixie Fuller, and sister-in-law, Shannon Fuller, into the realm of cancer we ask for your prayers. We actually covet them.
"On January 29th, we will hold a fundraiser to help defray the cost of medical expenses no one ever expected to encounter. There is no health insurance. Shannon will not recover from the lung cancer that has metastasized to her bones and lymph nodes. With aggressive chemo but no radiation she may be granted a year to live. With no treatment she has two months.
"That being said, we are going to fight like hell to give her the year.
"There is a fundraiser on January 29th. We need people. We have unbelievable items to sell in auction but it does no good if people don't show up and step up.
"Shannon and Joe have done for others. It is our time to step up and show up for them. Let's allow them to make as many memories as they can while we still have Shannon.
"Shannon saved our family's restaurant in South Chattanooga before it became the "Southside" She helped my mother, Shirley Fuller, keep Zarzours doors open since 1918. She told everyone she encountered about this hidden gem. She turned things around.
"Zarzours story is an emotional one for me. I know what my family has done to keep it open since 1918. My Aunt Rose was only 13 years old when her beautiful mother passed away from the Spanish Flu of 1918. Her mother, my siti, which is Lebanese for grandmother, was weakened from childbirth of her sixth child, David, two months before she died. She wasn't strong enough to fight the pandemic of 1918.
"My precious great Aunt Rose quit school at 13 and gave up her dreams to help raise her sister Josephine and her brothers Abe, Jimmy and George. Uncle George was only 2 1/2 years old when he lost his mother. The only mother he ever knew was Aunt Rose.
"What a story our family shares.
"It began with my great-grandfather and then my Aunt Rose and Uncle George took over after Papa's death. When Aunt Rose passed this little gem was left to my mother, Shirley Zarzour Fuller. My mother never took a vacation and went without air conditioning at home so Zarzour's could be cool. She gave away more food than she sold. She rewarded children with good grades with cornbread to eat and a quarter. I am in awe of her strength and determination to be sure Zarzour's stayed open. Not on my watch, she would say.
"Enter Shannon and Joe Dixie Fuller. They were down on their luck when they came home from Nashville. They spread the word near and far about the great home cooking at Zarzour's. How fitting when Mama passed that Zarzour's would become their baby.
"I can honestly say there would be no Zarzour's today had it not been for Shannon and her advertising and mouth. Now Joe is ready to say not on his watch.
"Please, as a community and family, let's support them as they struggle with the end of life and keep their family's most precious possession, Zarzour's Cafe, open.
"Eat local. Support the fundraiser on January 29th, and pray for strength and comfort from my brother and sister-in-law.
"I love you for doing this."
You may find more information on the Fuller Fundraiser Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/310460240857343