Rob Magee, the late founder and owner of barbecue restaurant Q39, loved St. Patrick’s Day.
That’s because he and his wife Kelly got engaged on the Irish holiday, she said. Every St. Patrick’s Day, Magee would smoke corn beef and make one of his favorites: a Reuben sandwich.
In addition, March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. So, to honor Magee — who died from colon cancer on Dec. 4 — Q39 is putting his beloved Reuben sandwich back on the menu.
For every Reuben sold this month, $1 will go towards the Rob Magee Memorial Fund for Cancer Research.
Kelly Magee hopes the Reuben sandwich, along with the staff’s special “Wear Blue Day” on Friday, March 4, encourages people to get screened for colorectal cancers sooner to potentially save lives.
“He was diagnosed in 2016, but he was already at late Stage 3 in his diagnosis,” Kelly said. “He was probably screened at age 51. If he had been screened sooner, once it’s caught sooner, it’s much easier to treat.”
Kelly said Magee’s approach to cancer treatment, once diagnosed, was to be “all-in” and try every single treatment. For him to live five-and-a-half years past his diagnosis was “kind of a long time,” she said.
Among the treatments he tried, Magee underwent hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, or HIPEC.
This treatment removes “all visible tumors from the abdomen” and sends “heated chemotherapy directly inside the abdomen to destroy microscopic cancer cells and tumors,” according to The University of Kansas Cancer Center.
Kelly said HIPEC wasn’t as successful when Magee tried it, but researchers are making strides. Those interested in direct donations to HIPEC research in Magee’s name can donate online here.
Kelly said the Q39 team is excited the Reuben sandwich is back on the menu, and more importantly, that it will honor Magee, his legacy and his love St. Patrick’s Day.
“It’s such a fantastic way to show our support for Rob and we’re looking for fun ways to kind of remember him and carry his legacy forward,” Kelly said.