SCHUYLER FALLS - Theresa M. Viti has been living with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma for more than a decade and is now pursuing her second bone marrow transplant to combat the disease. And, she's not alone.
Employees of the Peru Central School District transportation department have joined together to organize a benefit this Saturday, Oct. 24, for Theresa, a dental assistant in Plattsburgh who is the wife of bus driver David Viti.
"We just thought we, the bus drivers and other people here at the transportation department, would get together to help them out, and it just got bigger and bigger," said Candy Hislop, one of the organizers of the benefit who works with David. "He's always helping everybody else out and we just thought we'd help him and his family out for a change. We just want to help them with their expenses."
When David learned his co-workers wanted to lend a hand, he was taken back, he said.
"I didn't know what to say. I mean, we've always worked for everything we've got and we've never asked for anything," said David, who admitted he and his family aren't used to accepting help from others.
"We told him whether he liked it or not, we were doing it for them," Candy said, laughing.
Theresa has already undergone a bone marrow transplant and several rounds of chemotherapy in Plattsburgh and in Boston, Mass., said David. Theresa has seemed to become unresponsive to chemotherapy, he added leading her to search for another donor for what would be her second and final attempt at a bone marrow transplant.
"This is the last step to hopefully do something for her," he said.
Despite facing such a serious situation, Theresa remains positive, David said.
"She's a strong-willed person," said David. "That's what's kept her going all this time."
"I have to enjoy life and live each day to my best," added Theresa. "I can't change anything, so why get down because of it?"
Her husband, three daughters, two grandsons and granddaughter are especially what keep her going, she said.
I try to stay strong for them. I'm not going to give up," said Theresa.
This Saturday's benefit, which will consist of a rummage sale, bake sale and raffles, will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the gymnasium of St. Augustine's School, 3035 Main St., Peru. Word of the fundraiser has already started to spread, said Candy.
"The community has been really helpful giving us things for the raffles," said Candy. "We've got something like 30 items donated from local businesses. And, we're going to have all kinds of pies, homemade bread, brownies, cheesecakes. Whatever you can think of. So, hopefully we'll do okay.
Those interested in making donations to the event or sending donations to the Vitis may do so by contacting Candy at 570-6360 or Crystal Simpson at 561-3943.
"We really appreciate everything everyone is doing for us and all their support," said Theresa. "It's nice to know there are people our there who really care."