Local Matters

Community Sponsors

Genesee Cancer Assistance

November 4, 2016 - 4:26pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Batavia Police, Genesee Cancer Assistance.

Press release:

The City of Batavia Police Department and Batavia Police Benevolent Association will once again commence their annual MO-vember Campaign (AKA No-Shave November) to recognize men’s health awareness during the month of November.

Officers will donate in order to participate in the campaign and all proceeds collected will once again be donated to Genesee Cancer Assistance, a local 501(c)3 not for profit, helping cancer patients and their families living in Genesee County through their individual journeys by providing financial and other assistance.

In their efforts to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health, you will see officers sporting a mustache, goatee, or full beard -- a first for the campaign. Normally, according to Police regulations, officers are only allowed to sport a gentlemanly mustache. This year, Chief Shawn Heubusch has allowed officers to also grow a goatee or full beard, for a higher donation level.

“This is a way for our officers to give back to the community and do their part to raise awareness for the issue of men’s health," Heubusch said. "We are encouraging others to donate to such a great cause."

You can get involved by making a donation for the 2016 MO-vember Campaign by stopping at the Batavia Police Department, located at 10 West Main Street or Genesee Cancer Assistance located in their new office, in the lower level of United Memorial Medical Center, 127 North Street, or online at www.geneseecancerassistance.com.

Please ensure you earmark your donation for the 2016 Batavia Police MO-vember Campaign.

Keep watch on the Batavia Police Department Facebook page where you will be able to vote for your favorite display of follicular excellence upon the faces of our officers. Any questions about the campaign can be directed to Officer Frank Klimjack.

October 25, 2016 - 12:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Cancer Assistance, batavia, news.

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Genesee Cancer Assistance has opened up an office inside United Memorial Medical Center, next to the Lipson Cancer Center, to help the agency better serve its clients. 

"We offer financial assistance for medical co-pays, reimbursement of travel expenses and any medical-related expenses not covered by insurance," said Sue Underwood, executive director. "The patients can use the money for whatever they may need related to their treatment."

Via our news partner, WBTA.

September 1, 2016 - 1:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in Genesee Cancer Assistance, news, charity, batavia.

Press release:

Genesee Cancer Assistance, based in Batavia, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded $15,000 as a part of The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation Funds at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo 2016 grant disbursement.

Genesee Cancer Assistance is one of 19 organizations from across Western New York that received grants from endowment funds created to carry on Ralph C. Wilson Jr.’s legacy of giving and visionary leadership.

Effective immediately, the organization has plans to increase the amount of financial assistance available to new patients.

“We are both honored and excited that the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation Funds at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo has chosen Genesee Cancer Assistance as a recipient. This money supports our mission of helping cancer patients in Genesee County and will also allow us to increase public awareness of our services and programs,” said Sue Underwood, GCA executive director. 

The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, a 501(C) (3) organization, was established in 1919 to enhance and encourage long-term philanthropy in the Western New York Community. The Foundation’s mission is: Connecting people, ideas and resources to improve lives in Western New York. For over 95 years, the Community Foundation has made the most of the generosity of individuals, families, foundations and organizations who entrust charitable assets to its care.

The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation established endowments at the Community Foundation in November 2015 to provide support to three areas that were important to Wilson during his lifetime: cancer care, community assets, and youth sports. Endowment funds, like these created to honor Wilson, are designed to grow over time and provide funding for charitable causes according to a client’s wishes. www.cfgb.org.

Genesee Cancer Assistance is a registered 501(c) (3) not-for-profit. It was cofounded in November of 1995 by Dorothy Schlaggel and Russ Romano, both of whom had a desire to create an organization that would help residents in Genesee County facing a cancer diagnosis, by providing financial support and services to lessen the burden that this disease causes. Since opening, GCA has had the opportunity to help more than 1,900 individuals giving out $500,000 of assistance. 

"The organization relies on contributions and memorials as well as local support and board sponsored fundraising events to finance patient reimbursements. Receiving the grant from The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation Funds at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo will help meet these needs and have a positive impact on the community" said GCA Board President Kevin J. Mudd, MD. 

For more information about Genesee Cancer Assistance, including the specific ways the organization helps cancer patients, please visit the website www.geneseecancerassistance.com, call (585) 345-0417, or stop by, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Please note that our new office is now located on the ground floor of United Memorial Medical Center, 127 North St., directly across the hall from the switchboard near the radiology waiting room.

August 19, 2016 - 10:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Cancer Assistance, sports, golf, news.

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Genesee Cancer Assistance held its annual golf tournament fundraiser at Batavia County Club today and with the support of numerous volunteers, the nonprofit hosted a couple hundred golfers and bocce ball players.

One of the features of the tournament this year was a floating green challenge -- a small green floating in the middle of a lake. If a golfer could land a ball on the green -- at $5 a try, he or she could win a new driver. If nobody made it, each entrant would have a chance to win through a drawing. No word on who the winner was yet.

Joe Gerace, a stalwart among Genesee Cancer Assistance volunteers, insisted on working the tournament, as he usually does, as a marshal. He's pictured below with Peter Guppenberger, who came within feet of hitting the floating green with his shot above.

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June 4, 2016 - 3:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee Cancer Assistance, festival of hope, batavia, news.

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Genesee Cancer Assistance hosted its annual fundraiser and festival at Batavia Downs, the Festival of Hope, which included a cross-fit competition.

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May 30, 2016 - 6:30pm

Click here for more information or to register for the Walk Against Cancer, Yoga or Pull & Trot!

May 16, 2016 - 3:00pm


Click here
for more information or to register for the Walk Against Cancer, Yoga or Pull & Trot!

April 29, 2016 - 2:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Joe Gerace, charity, Genesee Cancer Assistance.

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There was a record turnout last night for Joe Gerace's annual Spaghetti Dinner.

The dinner, which was held at Stafford Fire Hall, was a fundraiser for Genesee Cancer Assistance.

For the first time, Gerace wasn't able to make the sauce himself, since he's in cancer treatment himself.

Previously: 'I'm not the only guy who has cancer,' says Joe Gerace as he plans to attend his annual dinner to support others

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April 26, 2016 - 6:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Joe Gerace, Genesee Cancer Assistance, batavia, news, charity.

Throughout his life, Joe Gerace has helped so many people in our community, and now it's our turn to help him, but he doesn't look at it that way.

"I'm a little humble," Gerace said. "I'm humble because I'm not looking for somebody to pay me back. I've done everything from my heart, and, yeah, now it is payback time, but I'm not looking for it that way. I'm not that way."

Gerace was diagnosed earlier this month with lung cancer and bone cancer, at the same time, he also suffered a broken femur. He's currently staying at the State Veterans Home but plans on attending his annual spaghetti dinner Thursday in Stafford, which is a fundraiser for Genesee Cancer Assistance, a local organization he's worked tirelessly for since 1995.

"I'm looking forward to going to my spaghetti dinner Thursday," Gerace said. "I'm not going to get to put my hands in the sauce. I'd like to, but they all know what to do. I gave them all instructions."

He thinks just being there is important, not for him, but for others who need the support.

"I did it for 20 years and I want to be there to root other people on," said Gerace, who is 80. "I'm not the only guy who has cancer. There's a lot of people out there. I don't want no one to feel sorry for me because I'm going to fight this. I'm going to fight it."

Gerace has been deeply involved in our community for decades. He was the first person selected for the Italian-American of the Year Award at Batavia Downs in 2008. That year he was also Humanitarian of the Year for United Memorial Medical Center and the Jerome Foundation. In 2006, he was named City of Batavia Volunteer of the Year and Genesee County Chamber of Commerce Genessean of the Year in 1993 and was honored for his community service by the Paolo Busti Foundation Scholarship Committee.

He has long been active in Rotary and Knights of Columbus. He's a former president of the Batavia Youth Bureau, co-chair of the Genesee County Cancer Society's Festival of Hope and a director of the Genesee County Baseball Club (co-owners of the Batavia Muckdogs).

"I've got the urge to help," said Gerace, who served in the Army from 1957-59. "I call myself a public servant for Christ. I'm not a very religious guy, but I believe in God."

For two decades he's devoted a lot of time and effort helping people afflicted with cancer, but he never had it himself until now.

"It's so easy to tell somebody, you're going to be OK," Gerace said. "Well, you know, you experience it and then you'll know what they're going through. It's not only the cancer. It's the treatments. It knocks the heck out of you. It makes you tired. I want to go faster, but they slow me down, my wife slows me down all the time."

Gerace has received hundreds of get-well cards and countless bouquets of flowers over the past couple of weeks. He knows hundreds of people are praying for him and he says his own prayer every time he goes into treatment. 

"I say, 'dear God, those people prayed for me. Please answer their prayers.' "

He vows to beat cancer.

He said the other day he was doing a little religious reading and came across the story of a woman who got cancer and asked, "why me?"

She told people, "I have the Big C."

"Another gentleman wrote a letter," Gerace said, "and wrote her back and said, 'It's OK to have the Big C. The Big C is Christ and Christ is bigger than cancer.'

"That's what keeps me going," Gerace added. "I'm going to have a fight and I'm going to win. I will win. I've got a lot of spirit."

The dinner Thursday is from 4 to 7 p.m. Gerace vows he'll be there for at least some of the time. It's at the Stafford Fire Hall. Adults $10 (includes a 50/50 raffle ticket), children $5. Takeouts available.

October 10, 2015 - 9:00am

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Workers with Department of Social Services wore pink Friday as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and they shared pink snacks with each other. So far, they've raised $140 for Genesee Cancer Assistance and will continue fund-raising efforts throughout October.

Reader submitted photo.

August 7, 2015 - 5:25pm

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Genesee Cancer Assistance held its annual golf outing today at the Batavia Country Club.

Above, Andy Squire, of Spencerport, hits a shot off the first tee.

Below, Debbie and Dan Fischer, of WBTA, flank Mary Blevins and Andrea Mazukiewicz, ESL Credit Union, while playing bocce ball.

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May 6, 2015 - 3:25am
Event Date and Time: 
May 29, 2015 - 4:30pm to 9:30pm
There are actually two events:
  • 1. Genesee Cancer Assistance will hold its Annual​ Festival of Hope (Walk Against Cancer) at​ Batavia Downs, 8315​ Park Road, Batavia, NY on Friday,​ May 29, 2015​ 5:00PM-9:30PM.
The family-oriented event includes a Kid Zone, Music, Food, Raffles, Luminarias, and more!  Funds raised assist cancer patients and their families. Free Play is being given to all persons who participate in the event, just see Joe Gerace while the coupons last!
April 27, 2015 - 5:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Genesee Cancer Assistance, Batavia HS, Mr. Batavia.

Jordan Fluker, Mr. Batavia 2015, presented a check today to Genesee Cancer Assistance for $3,055, which is the proceeds from this year's Mr. Batavia event at Batavia High School. Pictured with Fluker are Joe Gerace and Patricia Arnold.

Photo submitted by Lisa Robinson.

February 23, 2015 - 9:46pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in awards, cancer, Genesee Cancer Assistance.

This is the second in our series of profiles of the 2014 Chamber of Commerce Award winners. The awards will be presented at a dinner at the Clarion Hotel on Saturday.

One of Genesee County's most active volunteer organizations is in for a pretty big year. Genesee Cancer Assistance is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and it's being honored with a Special Service Recognition Award from the Chamber of Commerce.

Consisting of two office staff and around 50 volunteers, Genesee Cancer Assistance was founded in 1995 after the American Cancer Society withdrew its services from Genesee County. The organization provides emotional, financial and practical support to Genesee County cancer patients and their families. According to office manager Patricia Arnold, they have helped about 1,700 families and given more than half a million dollars to cancer patients in the last 20 years.

Some of their most well-known annual fund-raising events include the Festival of Hope, 5K Walk, golf tournament and spaghetti dinner.

Their nomination came from Paul Figlow, a member of the Genesee Cancer Assistance board of directors and chairman of the Festival of Hope.

"The reason I nominated (Genesee Cancer Assistance) is that I really think we need to get the word out about what we do," Figlow said.

Three things that make Genesee Cancer Assistance special

If you talk to the people involved, they will tell you that there are at least three major factors that distinguish Genesee Cancer Assistance.

First, all of the money they raise stays in Genesee County and goes directly to those who need it.

Second, everyone involved with the charity has been personally touched by cancer in some way.  Figlow, for example, lost his mother to cancer in 2010.

"Probably about 99 percent of the people involved can give you a story," Figlow said. "Our organization really hits home to a lot of people."

Finally, the people of Genesee Cancer Assistance give their time and effort neither out of necessity nor personal gain, but because they have a passion for it.

“We're blessed with a very strong board presence,” said Steve Grice, board member and golf tournament co-chair, “people who are willing to put the effort in. But we're also blessed with a group of volunteers who don't go out and wave a flag, but are right there when we have an event.  They show up and ask, ‘What can we do? Where do you want me?’ Anything you ask them to do, they'll do.”

Volunteers will also help with technology, advertising, or other areas according to their interest and expertise.

“It’s like God brought them down here,” said Board Member Joe Gerace, who is chairman of the spaghetti dinner fundraiser. “They really are good people. And they don’t complain (about the work). This is really a big family.”

As for Arnold and Sue Underwood, the only two paid staff, Grice said that they go “above and beyond” for their positions.

How Genesee Cancer Assistance works

Each patient is given $400 upon application. This is to help with hospital visits, copays, mileage, hospital parking fees, etc.

"It may seem like a small gesture to some," Grice said. "The money sometimes might seem minimal; but it's really not minimal to someone who's lying in a hospital bed on chemo and just wants somebody to hold their hand, or just sit there and watch TV with them. The family might not have the funds, because of insurance and all that."

Patient advocacy is also a big part of the mission. Staff at Genesee Cancer Assistance will answer, to the best of their ability, questions about any issues or concerns patients bring to them.

"Say a patient calls and says their utilities were shut off," Arnold said. "We will step in and tell them how to go about contacting the utility companies and what has to be done for their heat, for example, not to be shut off."

She said that oftentimes, if a patient can present proof from a doctor stating that the loss of electricity or other utilities would cause him or her harm, then the company cannot shut them off. But there are specific procedures people must go through in cases like these, and Genesee Cancer Assistance can guide them through such procedures.

Other services include referrals to other agencies when necessary (for example, when people have used up the services Genesee Cancer Assistance is able to provide), sharing educational materials with the community, and free Biblical counseling through Grace Baptist Church in Batavia.

"Simply Beautiful"

One of Genesee Cancer Assistance's best-kept secrets is the "Simply Beautiful" program, which is Gerace's brainchild. He runs it with the help of dedicated volunteers Carol Grasso, Joyce Meisner, Karen Roland and Amy Nichols, as well as others.

It is sort of a cross between cosmetic aid and a support group. The first thing Gerace does for everyone once they arrive is try to make them comfortable.

"When they come in, they're very nervous," Gerace said. “And I try to help them out. I give them coffee, or donuts, or fruit. It depends. (Once they feel relaxed), if they don't have a wig, I put a wig on them to show them what they look like."

Patients -- both men and women -- get free makeup and wigs (or hats, if they are not interested in wigs) up to $200 in value, over and above the $400 they receive upon application. Makeup includes artificial eyebrows and eyelashes for those who have lost these as a result of chemotherapy.

"Simply Beautiful" meets on a monthly basis as a general rule, although sometimes this is impossible due to treatment schedules or illness. In those cases, Gerace will do his best to accommodate people's needs.

"They'll either call me up, or call Patty from the office, who says: 'Joe, we got a woman who needs a hairpiece and can't wait. Would you let her come to the office and see if it's what she wants?' I've done that many times."

Gerace started "Simply Beautiful" after being involved with a similar program in association with the American Cancer Society, "Look Good, Feel Better."

When American Cancer Society services diminished in Genesee County, he and his fellow volunteers "had to start from fresh." He was asked to come up with the name for a new program, and was told to "keep it simple."

"And I said, 'Yes, that's a good name -- "Simply Beautiful.” ’ ”

A community effort

Another ingredient in the success of Genesee Cancer Assistance is their ability to form productive partnerships with people in the community.

"There are many people that we have helped who take it on themselves to do their own fundraisers,” Figlow said. “And they basically do it all themselves. These are quite the events -- I'm sure they spend months working on them. (In each case) they tell us about the event, they take care of everything, and then we receive a check every year."

Some of their partners include Paul Berardini of Big Pauly's Pizza, T.F. Brown's, Kiwanis of Corfu-Pembroke, Toni Funke and her "Zumba in the Sand" program, and Michelle Shade, who puts on a "Christmas Angel Festival and Basket Raffle" at Calvary Baptist Church in Batavia every November.

"All the service clubs in Genesee County help us some way somehow," Gerace said, "whether it's the Lions Club, Zonta, Sertoma Club (and others). And Patty Arnold is very good about making sure everyone who helps us gets a thank-you."

For more information on Genesee Cancer Assistance and what they do, call 345-0417.

Photo: Dr. Kevin Mudd, president of Genesee Cancer Assistance Board of Directors.

August 8, 2014 - 3:00pm

Would you like to make a difference in the life of a cancer patient? Genesee Cancer Assistance, Inc., has been in operation since 1995 and has strived to make the difference in the lives of Genesee County residents who have fought the courageous battles against cancer.

Our annual golf tournament is being held on Friday August 15, 2014 at the Batavia Country Club in Batavia and on behalf of the board of directors, the numerous volunteers and most importantly, the cancer survivors, we are asking for your support. If you're not aware, 100% of your financial support stays here in Genesee County.

This year's tournament is in memory of Patrick "Swaz" Suozzi & Jerry Martino!

The cost is $90 per player. Requested foursomes can only be made at registration, otherwise foursomes will be made up randomly. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m., with lunch served at 11 a.m. at the Halfway House (outside). Shotgun starts at approximately 11:45 a.m.

Registration deadline is Friday, August 11, 2014.

Lunch and dinner tickets will be distributed at registration. Soda and beer are included with lunch and dinner. The steak dinner starts immediately after golf with awards and prizes to follow in the Club House. Prizes are for a hole-in-one prize on all Par 3's, 50/50 raffles, and a putting contest.

For more information or questions, please contact John Gerace (585) 303-0407 or via e-mail at: [email protected]

June 1, 2013 - 10:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Genesee Cancer Assistance, DeWitt Recreation Area.

Genesee Cancer Assistance hosted a 5K race this morning that started and ended at DeWitt Recreation Area on Cedar Street. The event is combined with a chicken BBQ, chance auction and balloon release.

We'll post race results after we receive them.

July 28, 2012 - 5:26pm

The Genesee County Women’s Republican Club will host its annual Lucky Numbers Auction event on Aug. 2 at the Batavia Country Club, 7909 Batavia-Byron Road, Batavia.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 6:30. Cost is $18 per person.

Reservations must be made ASAP by calling Melissa Gaebler at (585) 297-7948, or emailing her [email protected]. Genesee Cancer Assistance is the club’s “Caring for America” charity this year. People attending are encouraged to bring a donation.

New members or anyone interested in joining the Women’s Republican Club are welcome to attend.

September 23, 2011 - 3:50pm

Bontrager's Third Annual Harvest Dinner Dance to benefit Genesee Cancer Assistance will be held on Saturday Sept. 24 at Bontrager's Auction Center, 8975 Wortendyke Road in the Town of Batavia.

Tickets are available the auction center or by calling Bob Stocking at 762.8585 or 409.8439.

Cost is $20 and includes a full dinner and music by the Ghost Riders. Dinner will be from 5 to 7 p.m. and dancing is from 7 to 10 p.m.

If you want to come for the dancing only, you can just show up at the door and pay $10.

A Gibson guitar that has been signed by Alan Jackson, Diamond Rio, Pam Tillis and other famous artists will be raffled off. The drawing will take place Saturday night.

No alcoholic beverages are allowed on the premises.

May 21, 2011 - 1:48pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in festival of hope, Genesee Cancer Assistance, 5k Run, 5k Walk.

Joe Gerace, left, Dorothy Schlaggel and Justin Calarco-Smith share a passion for helping cancer victims. As members of the Genesee Cancer Assistance Board of Directors, they took time to speak with me today about the upcoming Festival of Hope and 5K walk/run, the organization's major annual fundraiser.

Batavia Downs, at 8315 Park Road in Batavia, will host the event on Friday, June 3.

The 5k walk/run

The 5k walk/run is a new feature that was added to the Festival of Hope two years ago.

Registration starts at 4 p.m., followed by a "Lap of Honor" for cancer survivors at 5:45 and the official race at 6:15.

Schlaggel, an honorary board member and founder of Genesee Cancer Assistance, said this is not really going to be a "race," per se.

Calarco-Smith agreed.

May 14, 2011 - 3:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Genesee Cancer Assistance, ferrellgas.

There was a big turn out at Ferrellgas on Ellicott Street in Batavia this morning for the fuel company's second annual "Refill-A-Thon."

Customers were invited to bring their 20-pound gas grill bottles for a free refill with a $5 donation to Genesee County Cancer Assistance.

No word yet on how much was raised this morning, but last year's event raised $2,000 for the American Red Cross.

Ferrellgas expected to donate 1,600 gallons of gas and employees volunteered their time to help with the event.

 

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