PLATTSBURGH - Cancer is something M. Dylan Raskin takes very seriously. The disease claimed the life of his mother six years ago, leading him on a mission to eradicate it ever since.
The critically-acclaimed author of "Little New York Bastard" and "Bandanas and October Supplies," is using his star power to draw people in to help others suffering from cancer. Raskin will be signing copies of his books at the Koffee Kat on Margaret Street Saturday, Sept. 18. The signing will double as an event to raise money for Adirondack Medical Center's Countess Alicia Spaulding Paolozzi Breast Imaging Center in Saranac Lake.
"I'm pretty excited about it. I hope we're able to get a good chunk of change to give to these people," said Raskin.
Raskin lost his mother to ovarian cancer in September 2004. The book signing comes at a time of year that has special meaning to him, and as the nation prepares to celebrate October as Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
"Every year at this time I think of ways I can slap back at that disease," said Raskin.
However, following the loss of his mother, Raskin didn't even want to hear the word cancer.
"For a good amount of time, I didn't want to get involved with anything that had to do with cancer. I wanted to get as far away from it as possible," Raskin admitted. "It's six years later and it's now getting a little easier for me to deal with it."
Raskin moved to the North Country from Queens when his mother became ill and stayed following her passing. He became so enchanted with the beauty of the area, the slower pace of upstate and the people who live here, he bought a home in Jay, where he spends half of his time and the other half in Plattsburgh.
"I've found some of the best people I've ever met here," said Raskin. "Even though this is kind of a financially-depressed area, people here will give you the shirts off their backs. And, when you come from the world I come from, you don't see that a lot."
The generous spirit he's encountered in the region is what Raskin hopes will motivate people to come out for his event with the intent on helping others.
"The hospital my mother and I were involved with in Queens was a hellhole, the doctor was great, but the hospital was a hellhole," said Raskin. "We never had any programs like [Adirondack Medical Center]. We were grasping greased ropes constantly because there was no one to reach out to."
Raskin is so appreciative of places like Adirondack Medical Center that he said he's willing to help double the donations received at his book signing.
"I'll match whatever we bring in. We really want to make this as successful as possible," he said. "Even if you come down and don't want to buy a book, that's fine. Leave $5 for the cause."
Raskin's book signing will begin at 7 p.m. Those who miss the event may still make donations directly to Adirondack Medical Center, 2233 State Route 86, Saranac Lake N.Y. 12983.