GCA dinner highlights love and support necessary to help people in treatment for cancer
Cancer has diminished the speaking voice of Antonia Richenburg but now her spirit, as she made clear at the annual dinner of Genesee Cancer Assistance at Batavia Downs on Saturday night.
Richenburg was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinomas on her right vocal chord in the Fall of 2013. The following February she was referred to Genesee Cancer Assistance.
"Genesee Cancer Assistance has been a wonderful asset," Antonia said through her daughter Carson, who read her speech. "When I was confused and not able to find the answers I needed, the staff at Genesee Cancer Assistance were there to help out by doing their best to answer my questions. They even made the process of receiving financial assistance during my struggle with cancer a stress-free process."
It has been her family who has been her strength, though, she said.
"Although this has been a rough road for me, I never gave up," she said. "I have a strong support system. My family has been my biggest supporter, with more love and encouragement than anyone has ever asked for. I would have never survived without my husband, Eric, and my children, Todd, his wife, Rachel, and my daughters, Kearson and Carson."
She added later to encompass her entire support entourage, including her doctors, "the love and support of these people kept me focused on what's important."
And ended with advice for anyone diagnosed with cancer.
"Love and support are definitely needed," she said. "It will help keep you alive."
Photos by Howard Owens
Tami Burbules, also a cancer survivor, thanked Genesee Cancer Assistance for its support after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021.
Dorothy Schlaggel, a founder of Genesee Cancer Assistance, received a standing ovation when she was introduced.
Schlaggel said the idea for Genesee Cancer Assistance came after she and some others attended the Relay for Life in Rochester and they decided they didn't want to make that trip anymore so they started the Festival of Hope Walk to raise money to help battle cancer.
"There are a lot of our volunteers who are still volunteering, and it's been 30 years or more," Schlaggel said. "And all I've got to say is Genesee Cancer Assistance has the best volunteers ever and this place is fantastic."
Before the speeches, the volunteers were recognized, including, above, Mary Valle and Martha Woodruff.
Sue Underwood applauds Antonia Richenburg after her speech. Soon the whole room was on its feet applauding.
Paul Figlow was master of ceremonies.
The cash door prize was awarded by a process of elimination. Everybody had a little lighted trinket and if your number was called, you turned off your light. At the time this picture was taken, just before The Batavian left, there were 61 lights still on.