Three Framingham natives who started the nonprofit philanthropy StopLeukemia.org will sponsor an event tomorrow to raise money for patients' families, according to event organizers.
The fundraiser, held in conjunction with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, will be hosted at Hard Rock Cafe on Clinton Street in Boston tomorrow from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets cost $30, and will feature appetizers, auctions, raffles, and Tewksbury-based band The Muddy Stumps.
Founders Mike Richton, Tony MacDonald and Judd Schneider all graduated from Framingham High School in 1996. However, as the three journeyed through life, they experienced the turmoil that comes with watching a loved one suffer from leukemia.
Doctors diagnosed Richton's mother, Sandy, a Framingham YMCA gymnastics instructor since 1970, with leukemia in 1998. She went through a multitude of treatments and survived the illness. She still lives in Framingham.
Others, however, were not so fortunate. Schneider's father, Fred, was diagnosed with the disease shortly after his son graduated in 1996. After six months battling the cancer, Fred passed away in February 1997.
MacDonald's college roommate at West Virginia University, Westboro native Andrew Sarkisian, found out he had leukemia in early 2005. For the next two years, Sarkisian fought the disease and at one point was close to remission, but ultimately died from the illness.
The organization, started in 2009, has already donated $1,500 to the Andrew Sarkisian Scholarship Fund, and gave $15,000 to Dana Farber to specifically help families offset costs associated with treating the ailment.
"The money is for families and patients struggling with the financial hardships of this disease," MacDonald said. "It's not just for research and development, but to really make an impact with money."
Tomorrow, Richton's mother, Sandy, will attend the fundraiser, as event-goers can buy drinks at the cash bar, enter raffles and auctions, and win door prizes.
"It's meant to be happy hour type event," said Schneider. "We’ll get up and talk about the organization, what we’re all about, what we're raising money on behalf of, and our accomplishments the last year or two."
"We did everything we could to get items donated to keep costs down and keep overhead low, so every dollar that comes in comes out," Richton said.
For more information and to enter your name on the donor registry, visit StopLeukemia.org.