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NewsTribune photos/Scott Anderson Boob-a-Palooza organizer and two-time cancer survivor Betty Glynn thanks the crowd at the event Saturday at Celebrations 150, La Salle. The event benefits Cops 4 Cancer, which assists cancer patients and their families in the Illinois Valley.
The fifth annual “Boob-a-Palooza” drew hundreds of people Saturday to support Illinois Valley cancer patients and their families at Celebrations 150 in Utica.
The event benefited Cops 4 Cancer, an organization committed to lessening the financial burdens of families and individuals in the area who are battling cancer.
“Every penny of the profit goes to Cops 4 Cancer, and will be dispersed locally to people who have cancer,” said organizer Betty Glynn, a two-time breast cancer survivor.
Glynn said she hoped the fundraiser, featuring food, drinks, T-shirts and multiple raffles, would raise more than $50,000. However, by Sunday, they reported the event brought in more than $65,000.
The highlight early in the evening was the survivor tribute. Mark Dudek of La Salle played the bagpipes and led those who had had or were currently battling cancer in a procession through the hall.
One disappointment for Glynn was that 4-year-old cancer patient Lily Rosploch could not attend the event. She gave a plea to the crowd to “pray to whatever you believe in” for Lily and her family, and then invited everyone to dance to one of Lily’s favorite songs, “Timber” by Pitbull, in a tribute to Lily.
“We started out to just have a big party,” Glynn said about the first Boob-a-Palooza. “Before you know it, the party turned into something this special and this big.”
Glynn’s husband, Mike Glynn, called the “Boob-a-Palooza banker,” said the first four events had raised around $100,000 combined.
Cops 4 Cancer has distributed more than $192,000 since June 2011 to area households affected by cancer, according to its website.
Betty Glynn’s cousin, Karen Ammons, was diagnosed with breast cancer this past summer and could not come to the Boob-a-Palooza in 2013.
“I was so upset I missed the last one,” Ammons said. “These are really great — they help people in the community.”
Vickie Scoma has dealt with stage-4 ovarian cancer for the past five years, and calls herself a three-time cancer survivor for the three times her cancer has gone into remission. However, she said all cancer patients are survivors whether they’re in remission or not.
“You’re still a survivor as long as you’re still here,” she said.
Scoma said Cops 4 Cancer provided her with funds she needed to travel in 2011 to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, one of only three hospitals in the nation that offered the treatment she needed.
Now she is on the Cops 4 Cancer application committee “to give back,” she said.
“It’s incredible that in a community as small as ours, that we have an organization like Cops 4 Cancer and Betty’s Boob-a-Palooza and raise so much money,” Scoma said.
Ammons said what she appreciated most about Boob-a-Palooza was seeing so many people come together in support.
“It just means the world to me that people come out and support this,” she said.