Members of the Westport Lady Eagles and Schroon Lake Lady Wildcats pose for a picture at the start of their Cancer Awareness Game Oct. 6.
Hope is the theme of a pair of events scheduled to assist a local cancer patient.
A “Holiday of Hope” will be held Saturday, Dec. 17, at the Schroon Lake Fish and Game Club and a “Night of Hope” will be held Saturday, Jan. 7, at Schroon Lake Central School.
Both events will raise money for Kelly DeZalia, a North Hudson resident, who has been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.
“Let’s prove to Kelly and his family that no one fights alone and we are all here when needed,” said Edna Bowers, who is helping organize the events.
A “Holiday of Hope” will begin at noon. It will include a soup luncheon, photos with Santa, raffles, door prizes, blind auctions, bake sales, Chinese auctions, silent auctions, a stocking stuffer workshop and a fruitcake eating contest.
“There will be something for everyone so please come join the fun for a worthy cause,” Bowers said.
The “Night of Hope” will be a concert featuring folksinger Roy Hurd at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium.
People who wish to make donations or to help with either event can call 532-9236, 532-0510, 532-7603 or 532-9890.
DeZalia, age 45, works for the town of North Hudson. He and his wife, Stephanie, have two children, Miranda and Jordan.
Diagnosed last fall, DeZalia is completing three months of chemotherapy, Bowers said. Shortly after Christmas he will have surgery in Albany and will then go through another three months of chemotherapy treatments.
Bowers said a committee of family and friends has been formed to organize fundraising events. Besides the “Holiday of Hope” and “Night of Hope” other activities are being planned, she said.
DeZalia’s plight gained attention last Oct. 6 when the Schroon Lake and Westport girls soccer teams dedicated their game to him. DeZalia’s daughter Miranda plays on the Schroon Lake squad. Both teams wore pink as they took part in a Cancer Awareness Game as part of National Cancer Awareness Month.
The coaches and players from both schools originally hoped the game would raise awareness for breast cancer, but DeZalia’s diagnosis changed the plan to focus on general cancer awareness and help.
“The team was very excited for the event, but when we found out that Miranda DeZalia’s father, Kelly, had been diagnosed and it hit home with the team and with Miranda, we knew that we wanted to turn this into something that we could do to support the family,” said Mary Lou Shaughnessy, Schroon Lake girls soccer coach.
Kelly DeZalia is shy about publicity, Bowers said, but he appreciates the community support — like the soccer game dedication.
“At first, my dad was kind of skeptical about the dedication,” Miranda said of her father. “Then he decided that it would be an honor to represent those that have been affected by cancer. The team has been very supportive of our family, and we wanted to raise awareness for the disease.”
Kelly and wife Stephanie attended the game along with other family members and friends.
Keith Lobdell contributed to this report.