|3/20/2013 9:30:00 PM|
Two-time breast cancer survivor gives back through party this weekend
Betty Glynn (right), founder of Boob-a-Palooza, and her sister, Suzette Weide, sell merchandise before the 2012 event. It raised $33,000, the most they ever collected. Glynn has been organizing BAP since 2010 with donations going to Cops 4 Cancer to help out area families who are affected by cancer.
When Betty Glynn of La Salle was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998, celebrations were far from her mind, but in 2010 she decided to have a party to help several local families struggling with cancer.
Glynn is a two-time cancer survivor. She was first diagnosed and had to start chemotherapy just eight months after giving birth to a premature child.
“I had the odds against me and everyone stood by my side,” Glynn said.
She said she luckily had insurance to cover her hospital bills. However, Glynn began to meet people at chemotherapy who could not afford their hospital visits or other bills. She said she would constantly think about families losing their homes, unable to afford their medicine and feed their children on top of having no idea how to survive cancer.
“It broke my heart and I vowed to make a difference,” Glynn said.
Glynn said after she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time 10 years later, she took action by entering an Avon Breast Cancer walk. While Glynn was walking, she began to think about the money she raised and who it went to help. She had met many local families that needed help but didn’t know if they would all receive assistance from such programs.
“So we decided we needed to have a party in the Illinois Valley to celebrate life and raise money for our own,” Glynn said.
Glynn admits the timing of the event was somewhat selfish. She understands that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month but Glynn’s husband races cars and March worked out better. She told her husband she was tired of focusing on the sickliness and instead wanted to celebrate life.
“It was quite apparent that we, as a community, need to stop the insanity of our busy lives we take for granted and just celebrate being alive,” Glynn said.
The first Boob-a-Palooza (BAP) was in 2010 in a packed Knights of Columbus Hall. Glynn described the atmosphere as inspiring and knew right away she had to keep it going. She joined with Cops 4 Cancer, which helps distribute the donations from the event to local families.
“Each year, the event has grown and certainly has become more popular in our community,” Glynn said. “I have been told on many occasions, ‘You have to do this; we need you’.”
Last year, BAP collected $33,000, the largest amount by the event so far.
“It felt like an unbelievable accomplishment,” said Glynn.
Mary Redelsperger, retired and a recent cancer survivor, has been volunteering for the event since 2011 by selling T-shirts. Redelsperger knows Glynn’s family, who helped her apply for assistance from Cops 4 Cancer to pay bills and buy groceries. She said she admires Glynn’s work for the community.
“She’s done a lot for earning money for Cops 4 Cancer,” said Redelsperger.
Redelsperger said it is important for everyone to give back to the community and if people can’t afford a donation they should volunteer their time.
The volunteers from the community and businesses help keep the event going, said Glynn.
Home Depot, Hy-Vee, Buffalo Wild Wings, Wal-Mart and Kohl’s are some of the local businesses which donate gifts, workers, money and food for the event.
Glynn also said the music performers help to draw in crowds and she likes to give the band members free reign on their performances to make it a meaningful night for the bands as well.
“The band 303 has some exciting things happening that we are trying to keep on the down-low,” Glynn said.
“I love working with her. She allows me to be creative,” said Paul Williams, member of the 303 band and owner of the Cedar Creek Ranch, Cedar Point.
Williams said he played at BAP every year with the band Dewey Oxburger, which unfortunately could not play this year so he is playing with his other band, 303. He enjoys playing the event because of the high energy from the crowd and the connection felt during the event.
“Everyone is affected by cancer, and anything I can do from a music standpoint is great,” Williams said.
Entertainment for the event will be provided by The Craigs, 303, Joe Majors, Curb 11, Ladd Sound Productions and Stage 2 Clingers. Snacks will be provided by Buffalo Wild Wings. There also will be prizes and a special tribute for survivors at 9:45 p.m.
“We are hoping it will be a big event and the community comes out,” said Glynn.
IF YOU GO
BAP will be 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday at Celebrations 150, Utica. Tickets and apparel are for sale at Rudy’s Liquors, La Salle. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the event. All proceeds will go to Cops 4 Cancer to assist local families.
Glynn said they still need monetary donations to help make the drive a success.
“We often wonder what we will be remembered for,” Glynn said. “My hope is to be remembered for making a difference.”
Alicia LeGrand can be reached at (815) 220-6931 or email@example.com.
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