After a year’s delay of celebrating the 25-year existence of Genesee Cancer Assistance — which means founders, board members, patients and volunteers — the nonprofit will finally have its day.
The organization’s dinner celebration is at 5 p.m. Saturday at Batavia Downs Gaming on Park Road, Batavia.
“When we realized it was 25 years, we thought this was a great way to celebrate,” Executive Director Sue Underwood said Saturday to The Batavian. “It’s not a fundraiser, just a dinner celebration … where we could give back to the community for all their help and support. We will recognize the board, volunteers and patients that are there, and local businesses and community supporters will be recognized.”
Not an unfamiliar scenario during this past year, GCA had to postpone plans for an annual event in 2020 due to Covid-19’s impact on large and public gatherings. So it is actually 26 years old now, after being founded in 1995 by Dorothy Schlaggel and Russ Romano.
The duo had a shared objective to create an organization to assist cancer patients in Genesee County with access to financial aid and other related supportive services. The hundreds helped each year have turned into thousands of people able to obtain financial assistance for costs associated with their diagnosis and treatment, GCA’s website states.
This assistance includes expenses related to prescriptions, medical co-pays, transportation to and from medical facilities, home health care and related equipment and child care. The organization also provides biblical counseling, support groups, informative materials and the Simply Beautiful program, created to help cancer patients with personalized advice for how to deal with the side effects of treatment on their hair and skin.
Appetizers and beverages are to begin at 5 p.m., followed by a buffet dinner at 6 p.m., and the program from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Paul Figlow will serve as master of ceremonies, and Karen Rowland is to speak in memory of her father and huge GCA supporter, Joseph Gerace. Music, assorted memorabilia and, perhaps, some live racing or casino action may fill part of the evening, Underwood said.
There will be giveaways of gift cards, centerpieces and themed baskets throughout the event, she said.
“November is a time to be thankful, and it’s really to show people that we’re thankful for the community support,” she said.
Tickets are $35, including $25 of Free Play, and are available through Sunday, Nov. 14, as a total count must be turned in by Monday. To order, go to geneseecancerassistance.org