Meeting of 2/8/18: 2 battles against cancer

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-7-10-54-pmMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
February 8, 2018

Members Attending (9): Roberto Martinez, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Debbie Rodriguez, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Monika Annis, Terry Brewer, Ray Hannan.

Guests (6): Kelly Walborn, Olivia Sterantino, Erin Sterantonio, Denise Prinzo, Dan Annis, Chris Jones.


OPENING — President Roberto Martinez welcomed members and guests. (There was an insufficient number of members in attendance to convene an official meeting.)

MEMBERSHIP REPORT — Terry Brewer, point person on the District 7190 Membership Committee, reported that he and Ray Hannan were among 31 people attending the latest District membership workshop, representing 19 different clubs.

INDOOR GOLF EVENT –– The scheduled February indoor simulator golf event at Burden Lake Country Club has been postponed due to an insufficient number of reservations. It may be rescheduled for March.

SRC Bowling LogoBOWLING FOR VETS — The annual fundraiser is scheduled for Sunday, March 4, at the East Greenbush Bowling Center. Participation will carry a lower price this year, $15 for adults and $7 for kids 12 and under. We have 16 lanes reserved for two sessions, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Members are asked to sell lane sponsorships (we can sell more than one per lane) at $100 each to club members, local businesses or other organizations, etc. See Murray Forth, Terry Brewer, or Jim Leyhane for details. All members have been sent a PDF of the event flyer to use in spreading the word.

MIRACLE LEAGUE DINNER — The event, scheduled for the Greenbush YMCA, will be held this Sunday (February 11) with the assistance of SRC, Rotaract, the Y, and Kiwanis. Several SRC members have volunteered to help prepare the meal.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 4.13.48 PMROTARY HOME COOKING — Next up in the member-hosted series will be “A Greek Evening” at the Calamaras residence on Saturday, February 17. The menu will include leg of lamb, roasted potatoes, green beans a la Grecque, Greek salad, and — but not limited to — homemade baklava and other assorted sweets. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres at 5 p.m., dinner at 6. If interested, please contact Dean or Doris ASAP at 518-477-4694.

REQUEST FOR SUPPORT — The Greenbush Youth Soccer League (GYSL) emailed us a request for financial support for its effort to build a facility. Roberto said the request  could be referred to committee. However, Murray noted that the GYSL is a private group and suggested we may not want to become involved because we then could be buried in similar requests.

NEXT MEETING — 6:15 p.m. Thursday, February 15, at Quigley’s. The speaker will be Jim Neidermeier, principal of Tech Valley High School.

PROGRAM: 2 speakers on cancer-related topics

Olivia Sterantino (right) and mom Erin pose with the SRC flag.

Olivia Sterantino, a student at Maple Hill High School who is planning to be a short-term Rotary Youth Exchange student, is raising money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Her goal is $10,000, and she is competing for a $1,500 scholarship and the title “Student of the Year.” (Click here for details on the latter.) The deadline for fundraising is March 1.

Olivia said she has a personal connection to the fight against leukemia. Her grandmother has had the disease, as have one of her best friends, since the age of seven, and her Spanish teacher’s daughter. She said money raised will go to research, medical bills, transportation for treatment, and other related items. The leukemia survival rate today is about 50%, and Olivia has adopted the motto “Cures Today, Not Someday.”

She notes that many LLS-supported therapies also are being used to treat patients with rare forms of stomach and skin cancers. They’re even being tested in clinical trials for patients with a range of cancers including lung, brain, breast, pancreatic and prostate cancers. And, some of the drugs are being tested for patients with other non-cancerous diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Kelly Walborn

Monika Annis introduced Kelly Walborn, Olivia’s aunt who 30 years ago was a Rotary Youth Exchange student in Sweden, Monika’s homeland. She said while she was there she went to a hospital alone by taxi and was diagnosed with tonsillitis, a major life event for a teenager. Her experiences there taught her resilience and to be independent, attributes she has needed throughout her life, especially since 10 years ago, at age 37, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Kelly spoke about the “spoon theory” — everything we do has a cost later. At the time of her diagnosis, Kelly was balancing both a fulltime job and fulltime studies for an MBA degree. After treatments, the cancer returned and, at one point, she had considerable collateral damage from the drugs and treatments.  Her career was on hold, she had not yet finished her MBA, and her company was sold. Kelly could not travel or drive a car during treatments.

After three years, Kelly had a third cancer diagnosis and faced a crisis, but after discussion with a social worker she decided to meet things head-on and take control of what she could do. She now is a breast cancer advocate on a national level. She is also a hospice volunteer and trains other volunteers. She participates on several boards in Albany and Hudson. She has been successful in getting grants through 3M, which had purchased her company earlier.

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