Survivor, businesses join the fight
By BRIGETTA E. OVERCASH
Twenty years is a long time to live near the shadow of anything let alone cancer. But people like Bill and Mary Rapaport don’t live in shadows. They face life head on and fight back against health enemies like breast cancer.
Starting the Rapaport Fund at WCA Foundation to help buy equipment for breast cancer treatments for men and women was the beginning of their preparations for their spectacular pink Halloween fund-raising events “Boo! to Breast Cancer.” Thursday and Friday the imagination and spirted talent of the self-proclaimed Halloween lover will collaborate with Bemus Point’s Ellicottville Brewing Company on Chautauqua and their patrons. The restaurant is providing a holiday party during which anyone can stop in to help raise funds for the Boo! to Breast Cancer cause. Tickets will be sold for a total of 50 gift baskets, a new bag and set of women’s golf clubs and a child’s bicycle at EBC Friday and Saturday afternoon and evening and Saturday beginning at 2 p.m. at the Chautauqua Mall’s Halloween events. A Wiljen Woodworks hand-crafted Adirondack chair emblazoned with the pink ribbon breast cancer logo will also be given away. Area merchants and restauranteurs have generously supported the Rapaports endowment building campaign with gift certificates to be included in what she calls her Boo! Bags. They will be sold Friday at Ellicottville Brewing Company on Chautauqua.
“Halloween is my favorite holiday” Mary Rapaport, who fought breast cancer 18 years ago this month, admits. “To me, Halloween is never Halloween anymore – it’s breast cancer month and everything is pink. We just got a picture of our one-year-old grandson wearing pink sneakers. It seemed a little odd, but its’s all for the cause. This is quite the family affair.”
The Boo! to Breast Cancer event is being sponsored by the Rapaport family to increase the newly endowed fund they created to help purchase equipment to fight breast cancer.
“I talk to a lot of people who don’t know whether to stay in town or go out of town for treatment. I don’t see why. If you have a new diagnosis, why shouldn’t it be treated here,” she said. “I’m hopeful this fund will make women feel safe and have peace of mind to have their treatment here.
“When I went through it, I did treatment in my own backyard,” Rapaport said who moved to Greenhurst from Buffalo. “I found out I had cancer and in three days had a mastectomy. We hired a babysitter because it was exhausting to go through chemo and I had a three-year-old, two in high school and one in college. Traveling a long distance for chemo is too hard especially for parents with young children. We have WCA’s Cancer Center right here. I just want to people to feel safe to stay here and get the treatment they need.”
A determined survivor, Rapaport had her family, friends and supporters. Their support continues with events like this.
“I’ve just given friends and family tickets to sell for the fundraiser and they have. My kids are selling them all over Buffalo and my friend Jess sold more than 100 in Rochester. They’ve been very successful.”
Rapaport had her own success here.
“I went out into the community, sent a lot of notes and emails,” she said. “People were very excited to support. Breast Cancer is a big thing. It’s easy. It’s pink. It’s a Boo!”
“I am waiting for a box of pink things right now from a lady and her daughter. They are real Lucy fans and we met when they visited us at 59 Lucy Lane. They collect pink things all year long and send them to me for our pink fund-raisers. I have a gentleman who sends me a big box of donations that found about our events to fight breast cancer from our 59 Lucy Lane website. I only know his first name and have never met him. It’s just amazing.”
Amazing is also the word for Mary Rapaport as a cancer survivor and activist to help support the medical services in Jamestown though an endowed fund for WCA Hospital. Amazing is also a word to describe a community that supports thousands of individuals fighting breast and other cancers. This is evident through the many pink events to call attention to the need to support cancer patients and help sustain the high quality services of WCA Hospital and its Cancer Treatment Center.
For more information about how to support and donate to the Rapaports efforts to fight breast cancer, contact WCA Foundation through its Executive Director, Brigetta Overcash, 664-5461, or Megan Barone, Director of Development, 664-8423. To donate online or learn more about WCA Foundation, go to wcafoundationjamestown.com.