Richard Lamoy, owner of Hid-In-Pines Vineyard in Morrisonville, is hosting the second annual Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Fundraiser to benefit the Treasure Chests Relay for Life Team on Saturday, June 1.
MORRISONVILLE — Last year, Richard Lamoy, owner of Hid-In-Pines Vineyard, let the Treasure Chests Relay for Life Team hold a fundraiser at his vineyard to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
There was music, food and plenty of wine tastings to be had at the all-day event, called the Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Fundraiser.
The fundraiser will return, bigger and better, on Saturday, June 1, but for Lamoy the event is a little more personal this year.
At the end of 2012, he went to the doctor to have a cat scan for a kidney stone, a fairly routine, if not discomforting, process.
If you go:
What: Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Fundraiser to benefit the Treasure Chests Relay for Life Team
Where: Hid-In-Pines Vineyard, 456 Soper St., Morrisonville
When: Saturday, June 1, from 12:30–7:30 p.m.
Cost: $10 for all tastings. Fee includes a wine glass and handmade wine charm.
Evidence of lymphoma was found so his doctor referred him to a specialist, and after a few months and several tests, Lamoy learned he had stage three follicular lymphoma.
“I was already going to let them do the second benefit, but now it has even more meaning for me. It’s hit home,” Lamoy said. “I never thought I’d say this, but that kidney stone probably helped prolong my life.”
A lot of symptoms of cancer can be attributed to other problems, like the flu, so many cancers aren’t diagnosed until they reach their later stages.
Since lymphomas are particularly slow growing, they almost always remain undetected until they reach stage three or four.
There is no known cure for them, but treatment is available.
“The best they can do is keep it at bay,” Lamoy said. It’s very tiring. The drugs they give you wreak havoc on your entire body.”
Keeping lymphoma at bay means Lamoy must undergo a series of drug treatments, which often leave him feeling nauseous, fatigued and uneasy for a week.
Lamoy has received five treatments to date and is hoping to schedule his sixth treatment a day or two after the event.
Lamoy’s life-changing diagnosis has brought him difficulties, but there is some good news—a recent positron emission tomography scan showed that the treatments are working.
The imaging test utilizes a radioactive dye, called a tracer, to detect cancer.
When the scan is performed, areas affected by cancer light up and look a lot like a satellite image of light pollution.
Less light is better, and that’s exactly what the results of Lamoy’s scan showed.
“A lot of people are afraid to learn they have cancer,” Lamoy said. “But the sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner you can begin treatment and start fighting it.”
Anne Lautenschuetz, organizer of the Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Fundraiser and captain of the Treasure Chests Relay for Life Team, can relate.
On her 30th birthday, she received some troubling news.
“I am a 17-year survivor of breast cancer,” Lautenschuetz said. “I was 30 years old and pregnant with my second son while diagnosed, so I went through surgery and chemo while I was still pregnant.”
Almost two decades later, Lamoy is still actively attending support groups to give hope to others who have been diagnosed with cancer.
“When I was going through my cancer, I had a lot of really strong family and friends support,” Lautenschuetz said. “I didn’t think I needed to go to a support group, and I thought it would be like what you see on T.V., a lot of depressed old ladies sitting around crying, and I didn’t need that.”
About two years after her diagnosis, the nurse oncologist at the Fitzpatrick Cancer Center in Plattsburgh called Lautenschuetz and asked her to take part in a program called Reach to Recovery, which matches up someone who has been through cancer with someone who has recently been diagnosed.
“I fell in love with that program, and through the training for that program, I learned that a lot of the women had been going to this (Treasure Chests) support group, so I started going,” Lautenschuetz said.
Lautenschuetz quickly learned that her preconceived notions of cancer support groups were not accurate.
They were not focused on pity and depression, but instead gave attendees hope, while also keeping them up-to-date on new cancer research and treatments.
“One thing I would stress is to anybody going through this is to try a support group,” Lautenschuetz said. “Don’t get a vision in your head of what it is. We spend more time laughing than we do crying.”
That was 15 years ago, and now Lautenschuetz hardly ever misses a meeting.
She went on to organize the Treasure Chests Relay for Life team, and last year she put the Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Fundraiser together.
Lautenschuetz and Lamoy agreed that the all-day event received a good turn out despite the foul weather—as any North Country resident knows, it can snow in June in these parts—and both also agreed that this year’s event will be an amped-up version of last year’s.
Along with the tastings, which include locally produced wine, cheese and chocolate, there will raffles and performances by keyboardist Jay Lesage, the Completely Stranded Improv Troupe, former American Idol contestant Ben Bright, as well as acoustic performances by Taylor Renae LaValley, Abigail Clark, and alternative/rock band Truth be Told.
For more information, call Anne Lautenschuetz at 293-7097, or visit facebook.com/events/366273846820281/ to RSVP.