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It’s time to STICK IT TO CANCER once again!

February 8, 2014

stickittocancer2deck NEW 2014

When the question arose as to whether I wanted to benefit others through a joyous occasion in my life, my response was brief and immediate: “I do!”

At the end of this year, I will celebrate my 10-year anniversary of being cancer-free, but I wanted to celebrate this and my upcoming nuptials together, so I decided to replace my traditional wedding shower with a fundraiser for Roswell Park Cancer Institute. I also hope to raise awareness about lymphedema, a chronic swelling from which I have suffered since 2008.

My fiancé, Patrick, and I, along with our family and friends, will hold the fourth Stick it to Cancer Blood Drive and Basket Raffle from 2 to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 28, at the Town of Tonawanda Boys & Girls Club, 54 Riverdale Ave.

It wasn’t long after Patrick dropped to one knee on St. Patrick’s Day 2013 – in the middle of Niagara Square during the annual parade in Buffalo – when I realized that the summer of 2014 was becoming overbooked. We had already set the date for Stick it to Cancer before the proposal, and with an August wedding, I felt I was asking too much of my family and friends. I thought about how wonderful it would be to give to the community instead of amassing gifts and decided to replace the shower with the fundraiser.

Stick it to Cancer began in 2009 to mark my fifth anniversary of successfully fighting cervical cancer. The third event in 2012 featured me taking my first bike-riding lesson at age 36 so I could participate in the Ride for Roswell. I credit the cancer research facility with properly diagnosing and treating secondary lymphedema in my left leg, which developed in 2008 as a result of a hysterectomy to cure the cancer. The facility also holds a special place in Patrick’s heart, as the staff there took wonderful care of his mother after her cancer diagnosis.

This year’s proceeds will benefit Roswell and the 2014 Walk for Lymphedema and Lymphatic Diseases in New York City, for which Patrick and I will form a team. Sponsored by the Lymphatic Education and Research Network (LE&RN), the walk raises awareness as well as funding for research. While Patrick and I aren’t sure if we’ll make it to the Big Apple to physically take part in the walk in September, our financial support is vital in helping LE&RN to develop treatments, spread awareness and hopefully someday find a cure.

With the CDC reporting that 12.7 million people around the world are diagnosed with cancer annually, it’s hard to believe that so little is known about this destructive aftermath of treatment. We want to raise awareness so those seeking treatment for cancer know that lymphedema is a very possible side-effect that not only causes quality-of-life issues, but can lead to infection and other problems if not properly diagnosed and treated.

Stick it to Cancer once again will include family-friendly entertainment by our awesome friend, Tom Bender, basket raffles and other prizes. Wedding guests are being directed to this event and are encouraged NOT to bring gifts, while the public also will be invited so we can raise more funding and awareness. Admission will be $10 per person, which includes baked goods, non-alcoholic beverages and a card of basket raffle tickets. Children 10 and younger will be admitted free. Additional basket raffle tickets will be $5 per card or five cards for $20. Pizza will be sold, and a 50/50 split also will be available.

One of the main prizes that I’m most excited about is a pair of tickets to Lady Gaga’s concert in July at the First Niagara Center. I have wanted to see her in concert, but I always feel guilty spending that kind of money on myself. To ease my guilt, I purchased four tickets and donated two to Stick it to Cancer. The winner will enjoy the concert with Patrick and me in the 200 level!

The American Red Cross will also hold a blood drive from 2 to 6 p.m. Those only donating blood will be able to do so without paying admission, and presenting donors will receive a coupon for free admission into the fundraiser if they choose to attend.

For more information, to make an appointment for the blood drive or to make a donation, email me at lisaann_johnson@yahoo.com.

This event has raised several thousand dollars over the past five years, and I’m so thankful for all the support from family, friends and other community supporters. You are all the best!

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