SARANAC - Veronica Vann is usually on the other side of the equation when it comes to giving, helping raise money for those in need. This time, however, it was everyone else's turn to help her. Vann's friends and family came together June 5 to host a benefit for her at American Legion Post 1618. Their mission was to raise money toward Vann's medical expenses. Vann was diagnosed with breast cancer last September and has been undergoing treatment for the disease.
"She's helped with every benefit we've had and has always been one of the top ones to help," said Jean Wilson, one of the event's organizers.
Vann, a bus monitor with the Saranac Central School District, did not have insurance at the time she was diagnosed, and only recently was approved for Medicaid. The benefit was held to raise money to cover the expenses Medicaid wouldn't cover, explained Wilson.
"When this happened, we knew we just had to do this," said Wilson.
Overcome with emotion when she arrived at the benefit, Vann smiled through her tears as she was greeted by person after person.
"It's great to see everyone. It's such a good turnout," said Vann.
Wilson said she was also pleased with the support for the event - which included a spaghetti dinner, auction and raffles. Given her personality, Wilson said she wasn't surprised.
"She's very, very well-liked and she's just dedicated to everybody," Wilson said of Vann. "If something happens to somebody, she's one of the first ones there to help. She's very supportive. That's why she's so deserving of [the benefit]."
"I think it's great," added Vann's godmother, Shirley Durnin. "Family friends, they're there when you need them ... I'm her godmother and I'm proud of it."
Vann recently completed her last round of chemotherapy and said her doctors are giving her a promising outlook.
"They think they got it all," Vann said of the cancer, adding she will only need to take medication daily for the next five years.
What Vann and her friends credit most for her recovery is her positive attitude and inability to let the disease keep her down.
"I'm always on the go. You've got to keep moving," she said with a smile.
"She even wanted to help with her own benefit," said Wilson.
"She wouldn't let me," said Vann with a laugh.
Those who were unable to attend Vann's benefit last weekend may still send contributions in care of her to 5555 State Route 3, Saranac N.Y. 12981.