NORTH CANTON On the same day Mickey Stachel would have turned 33, his friends and family and others gathered at the Sanctuary Golf Club in North Canton on Aug. 5 to celebrate his life and to raise money and awareness for sarcoma, the cancer that took his life five years ago.
His sister, Anna Stachel, and others on the fundraising committee for the annual event, Swing & Strut, were also celebrating reaching this year’s fundraising goal of $10,000 and for having built more awareness of the need for vital research.
"We’re happy to have had over two dozen new people join us for the event this year," Stachel said. "In total with the golfers and the walkers, we had around 105 people. There were also a number of sponsors who donated which helped us go slightly over our goal of raising just over $10,000."
Mickey, a 2002 Jackson High School graduate, was just 28 years old when he started to experience pain in his jaw. Within months of the pain starting, he was diagnosed with sarcoma cancer. After multiple surgeries and a painfully courageous fight, he passed away in 2012.
His friends and family got together and decided to do the fundraiser to honor his fight and to raise money for much needed research. Sarcoma receives much less funding for research because it is considered a rare form of cancer.
This was the fourth Swing & Strut annual fundraiser at the Sanctuary Golf Club. Some people come to play an 18-hole golf scramble and others come to walk almost two miles of the Stark Parks trail in the same area as the golf course.
Everyone gathered later in the evening for a dinner in the pavilion. There were many donated gift baskets sold in a raffle, participants could also buy tickets for a 50/50 drawing and they were selling wigs to raise money.
"My brother had dark curly hair and so we sold dark curly wigs today and people have been wearing them in his honor," Anna said. "We also ask a couple of people to tell any stories about Mickey that they would like to share. One of the amazing things about Mickey is that everyone seems to have a funny story or two about him."
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 Stachel 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.
To find out more information about the Swing & Strut fundraiser or to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.