As with a number of families in the country, cancer is no stranger to the Carinci family of the Port Allegany area.
It is the ongoing fight with the disease that has affected several of his family members that inspired Tyler Carinci, a sixth-grader at Port Allegany Elementary School, to organize a fundraiser to benefit the annual Kids and Cancer Motorcycle Benefit Run this summer in Bradford.
Tyler’s fundraiser is slated to be held from 1 to 6 p.m. March 23 at the Bradford Masonic Temple at 625 South Ave. For a $10 donation, participants will receive a chicken and biscuit dinner, live music and activities that include Chinese auctions and a 50/50 raffle.
In commenting on the event, Tyler wrote that he was hosting the benefit as part of a service project at his school.
“You can say that I have been affected by cancer my entire life,” he wrote. “My mom had cancer along with my great-grandpa. My aunt passed away from pancreatic cancer” and another aunt is battling cancer.
“I chose Kids and Cancer because it is a wonderful organization and I want to help people,” Tyler noted.
Tyler’s mother, Jacki Carinci, who works at the Evergreen Elm agency in Bradford, said her son has been working hard in setting up the benefit.
“He’s been going around handing out fliers and has gotten donated money,” she said. “We’re going to meet this week about the food (for the benefit). So he’s got quite a little start on it.”
Carinci said her son approached her and the school about staging the benefit for cancer awareness, but admitted he wasn’t sure what to do. She said her son was eager about doing a benefit for Kids and Cancer when she suggested it.
“I’ve been involved with Kids and Cancer for many years,” she explained. “I had cancer 11 years ago, so I ended up helping with the American Cancer Society and got involved with Kids and Cancer.”
She noted her aunt, who is on the Kids and Cancer committee, also has been fighting breast cancer for many years.
“We’ve had quite a lot of family cancer,” she added. “Tyler has a big heart and likes to help people if he can.”
She said Sally Potkovick, Evergreen Elm employee and a Kids and Cancer committee member, helped arrange the venue for the benefit, which was donated by the Masonic Lodge.
Potkovick said that she and the other committee members are “grateful that Tyler has chosen Kids and Cancer to benefit from his service project and are excited to support him in his efforts.” “As you can see from his flyer (placed around the community), he and his family have been personally affected by cancer,” Potkovick remarked.
Information provided on the Kids and Cancer website states the motorcycle benefit run will be held July 27 in Bradford and the surrounding area. Now in its 21st year, the fundraiser has granted over $500,000 in financial assistance to families and medical facilities in the area.
In addition, over 15,000 motorcycle run participants and over 1.2 million miles have been ridden during that time.
The website states the funds have been provided to a number of organizations in Pennsylvania and New York state that strive to assist families during their times of need and conduct research for a cure of childhood cancer.
Facilities and organizations that have received funds from Kids and Cancer include Bradford Regional Medical Center’s Oncology Department; Olean (N.Y.) General Hospital, Mildred Milliman Radiation Medicine Center; Oishei Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, N.Y.; Roswell Park Cancer Alliance Foundation, pediatric services, Buffalo; Roswell Park Cancer Alliance Foundation – Carly’s Club; American Cancer Society Relay for Life; Ronald McDonald House of Western New York, Buffalo; Kevin Guest House, Buffalo; St. Jude Research Hospital, Nashville, Tenn.; Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh – Pennies From Heaven Fund, Pittsburgh; Shriners Hospital for Children, Erie; and Wings Flights of Hope, Orchard Park, N.Y.
To donate to Tyler’s benefit for Kids and Cancer in March, send letters to Jacki Carinci, 823 N. Main St., Port Allegany, PA 16743.