Roll up your sleeve in memory of John Busen

John Busen at the beach with his family.

Hundreds of people celebrated the life of a well-known Quincy architect Sunday.

The John Busen Benefit took place at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Quincy.

Busen was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder last year, one without a cure.

"Our sons called him Daddy Boo. He was a second father to them. He had a lot of skill sets that I didn't have. I was into athletics, John was into family. He taught my oldest son how to properly build a fire, the safe way, and got involved with a lot of that," Steve Bybee, one of Busen's best friends said.

"He became ill in February of last year. It took several weeks to be diagnosed. The disease he had was

Myelodysplastic Syndrome

," Mary Alice Bybee said.

It's a disease in which the bone marrow does not make enough healthy blood cells. More men than woman get this diagnosis, which can lead to anemia, bleeding and serious infections. Treatment often includes blood transfusions, chemo therapy and stem cell transplants.

"There were a lot of times through this process, I told Mary Alice, 'there are questions ... I don't know what to say, and I don't know what not to say.' It was a very intimate involvement with their whole family," Steve said.

During one of John's many visits to

Siteman Cancer Center

, in St. Louis, the Bybees decided to throw John a benefit.

"The last time he returned to Siteman, it was in mid-January of this year and he was there until he passed away on

May 12

," Mary Alice said.

It was at that time, the Bybee's decided to move forward with the benefit to help his wife, Linda, and their two daughters, Stacey and Sarah.

"It's a celebration of John's life. That's one of the themes we're going to try and promote at the even, that even though we're here for a very solemn occasion, it's to celebrate the things John did in his life, the things he enjoyed doing," Steve said.

The benefit included an American Red Cross booth set up where people could learn about John's rare blood disorder and ways they can help others by donating blood, platelets and stem cells.

"My dad needed blood a lot during his process, and sometimes they weren't even able to get the blood that he needed, a special type and what not. So, it's opened our eyes to the need for that type of donation," Sarah Busen said.

"We just really hope that in some way, along with helping the Busen family, maybe someone who attends our event will be able to help someone who has to go through treatment for something like what John had," Mary Alice said.

"I know that if John were here, he'd be so thankful and so amazed and overwhelmed at the support from his family and friends. There's probably no way we could ever thank everyone but we totally, totally appreciate it and we're trying to have a happy celebration to remember a good man," Linda Busen said.

Sunday marked the one year anniversary of John's stem cell transplant.