NANTICOKE — For the first time in its six-year history, everything at the Puck Cancer fundraiser was provided through donations or sponsorships, allowing all of Saturday’s proceeds to go directly to benefit cancer patients.
Shawn and Lauren Myers created the event at Quality Hill Park in tribute of Shawn’s mother, who died of cancer in 2011. The organization raises money for the Prescription Fund at Medical Oncology Associates of Kingston, where she was a patient.
Since its implementation, Puck Cancer has raised over $21,000, and it was aiming to double that number this year.
“Last year our hope was 10 (thousand), we ended up with 12. So this year we’re really hoping for $20,000,” Lauren said.
“So every little penny that walks through this door is ours to donate,” she explained.
Shawn grew up playing street hockey with his friends at Quality Hill Park, so it made sense to incorporate some type of hockey tournament into the fundraiser.
The event also featured plenty of food, kids’ games, a bounce house and more than 130 raffle baskets. The most popular raffle offered some Disney passes.
The Myerses were contacted by a Florida-based man, Chris, who heard about Puck Cancer through a mutual friend. Losing his own daughter, Sarah, to brain cancer in the fall, he felt compelled to help the organization.
Through their employers, he and his wife were able to donate some two-day passes to any Disney site, as well as offer deeply discounted rates to hotels around the park.
Myers added that another anonymous Florida resident made a massive contribution Saturday morning.
“We had a random $1,000 donation come through last night from someone in Florida,” Shawn said.
Seeing the benefits
Joseph Provenzano was enjoying the day with his daughter, Jule.
The Kingston resident was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in September, becoming a patient at the cancer center.
“Fast-forward to November, my company laid me off when they found out I had cancer,” he said.
Provenzano was introduced to Puck Cancer, who provided him with gift cards and funded some of his medicine through the prescription fund.
After Puck Cancer helped Provenzano, daughter Jule decided it was time to return the favor. She used Puck Cancer as a base for her senior project, selling bracelets and shirts.
“She raised $1,000 towards Puck Cancer,” he said. “Although cancer is a bad situation, the way things happened — meeting the people that I met along this road was huge for me.”
Today, Provenzano is happy to report his latest blood tests have shown no traces of cancer in his body.
Like Provenzano, Nanticoke resident Kyle Hoover has personally reaped the benefits of the local organization. Hoover was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer two years ago, and Puck Cancer has assisted him through the prescription fund.
Hoover attended the event last year, and is happy to see how much it’s grown in a single year.
“It’s wonderful to have the community here. You don’t really ever think about the community helping you until you see something like this, and you realize your community’s behind your back and they help you as much as they can.”