As part of the annual April Fool's pancake breakfast at Tremont Center on Saturday, businesses and residents will be helping out a serious cause - helping to fund a bone-marrow transplant for 5-year-old Fred Drew.

As part of the annual April Fool's pancake breakfast at Tremont Center on Saturday, businesses and residents will be helping out a serious cause - helping to fund a bone-marrow transplant for 5-year-old Fred Drew.

During the breakfast, Fred's parents, Mark and Joanne Drew, will be handing out chocolate icing and ice cream for patrons' pancakes. They will also be accepting donations that will go toward covering their son's medical procedure, which is scheduled to be performed in Seattle in the coming weeks.

Mark Drew said his son was diagnosed with Diamond Blackfan Anemia (DBA), a rare bone marrow defect that makes Fred's body unable to make red blood cells.

The city has also given permission for a block party to take place on Wickliffe Road following the pancake breakfast, where anyone interested in helping the family out can bid on silent auction items or make tax-deductible donations through the Children's Organ Transplant Association (COTA).

"It's Fred's sixth birthday, and this basically started as a birthday party fundraiser," Mark Drew said. "We'll be leaving town in a couple of weeks to have his bone marrow transplant in Seattle, and we wanted to invite his friends from preschool, and our friends from St. Mark's (Episcopal Church), and it's kind of ballooned from there."

The estimated cost for Fred's transplant exceeds $500,000, with additional costs for post-transplant medication and care, according to COTA. The family will need to raise $75,000 for transplant-related medical expenses not covered by insurance.

COTA administers all donations, resulting in 100 percent of money raised going directly to transplant-related expenses.

Donations to COTA will be accepted during the April Fool's breakfast, which takes place from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday, March 31, in the Tremont Center. The block party will begin at 1 p.m. in the 2500 block of Wickliffe Road, with a silent auction beginning at 3:30.

Donations may be mailed to the Children's Organ Transplant Association, 2501 West COTA Drive, Bloomington IN 47403. Checks or money orders should be made payable to COTA, with "In Honor of Fred D." written on the memo line of the check.

More details about Fred, and the association, can be found at www.COTAforFredD.com.