In early 2010, Mickey Stachel was working as a CPA at a firm in downtown Canton and enjoying the life of a 28-year-old when he started experiencing pain in his jaw. He went to the dentist who suggested he was grinding his teeth as many people do throughout their lives.
By the fall of that year, when he returned to the dentist for a regular cleaning, the dentist found a hole in the roof of Mickey’s mouth. Soon after that appointment, Mickey was diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Mickey had a tumor in his sinus cavity that required immediate surgery which was followed by hours of reconstructive surgery.
It would be the first of many surgeries he would endure throughout his two-year battle with the cancer. He had a tumor removed from his neck, had a hip replacement, had one lobe of his lung removed and had two other tumors removed from his lungs.
Mickey passed away in 2012. His family and friends have since put together a fundraiser to build awareness of Sarcoma, encourage early detection and to raise money for research.
The Swing & Strut annual fundraiser in its fourth year is scheduled for Aug. 5 at the Sanctuary Golf Club in North Canton. Mickey’s sister, Anna, who is the coordinator of the event along with many others is hoping that this year’s event will top the three previous in with more people attending and raising the most money.
"The event this year falls on what would have been Mickey’s 33rd birthday," Anna said.
Mickey was a 2002 graduate of Jackson High School. He attended Miami University and received his graduate degree in accounting from the University of Akron.
"Last year we had 90 people and raised over $10,000 and we’d like to top that this year. It’s a great event where people can come out and play 18 holes of golf or hike the local trail. Around 6 p.m., we’ll host a cookout for the golfers and the walkers plus we have several prizes and gift baskets to raffle," she said.
According to WebMD, sarcoma grows in the connective tissue or the cells that connect or support other kinds of tissue in the body. Tumors are most often found in the bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage, nerves, fat and blood vessels in the arms and legs, but the tumors can develop anywhere in the body.
While there are 50 types of sarcoma, there were only 12,000 cases of soft tissue sarcoma and 3,000 cases of bone sarcomas seen in the U.S. in 2014. Anna said one of the reasons her family and friends started the fundraiser is because of the rarity of the cancer which receives less research funding because of the low number of cases reported.
"Mickey’s cancer was rare because it was a myofibroblast which are the cells between the muscle and the ligaments. We’ve raised over $35,000 over the first three years of this event. The proceeds support a grant for novel immunotherapy research with Dr. Crystal McKall at Stanford University," Anna said.
Anna said that having sarcoma is a lonely experience because it is so rare. She hopes that others that have had it or have family or friends with it come to the event and share their stories.
"It’s just a great event every year. A lot of Mickey’s friends are having or have had kids so we are including many kids games this year. Besides being an important cause, everyone interested should come out even if it’s just to meet a lot of nice people and have lots of fun in a casual environment," Anna said.
Tickets for the golf outing can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com and typing "swing and strut for sarcoma" in the events box at the top of the page.