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Volume 16, Issue 46 - November 13 - November 19, 2008
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Letter From the Editor

A Purple Affair:
A New and Compelling Good Time for a Good Cause

Good time for good causes. This pairing is so popular it could keep you partying every week of the year.

In Calvert County, the Celebration of Life at Rod ’n’ Reel is the granddaddy of galas, in age, 27 years, and wealth, a half-million dollars in the fight against cancer.

In Anne Arundel, the prototype is Severn Town Club’s 45-year-old Holly Ball coming up on November 14 to benefit The Breast Center of Anne Arundel Medical Center and other local charities at ($150: rsvp to Aida: 410-757-2501).

In the months between August and September, you could have partied with the arts crowd in support of Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts (September) and joined SPCA of Anne Arundel County in Puttin’ On the Dog (October). As well as many others.

Chesapeake Country loves to party. From the fundraiser’s side, partying parlays into big bucks.

“It’s very profitable, our biggest fundraiser outside capital campaigns, and it’s a wonderful way to support your hospital and at the same time enjoy yourself,” explains Diane Tarhan, still catching her breath from Calvert Memorial Hospital’s 20th annual Harvest Ball last weekend. Sponsors and 550 guests who dressed up and stepped out to dine and dance raised over $100,000 to add on-line expertise to the hospital’s intensive care unit.

This weekend brings you another chance to party for a good cause: A Purple Affair, at the O’Callaghan Annapolis Hotel on November 15. It’s a first-time event, and one that sad experience tells us is all too worthy, for its cause is pancreatic cancer.

This fall, we’ve seen it take two beloved mothers: Michelle Robbins Saunders in North Beach, and in St. Louis, Laura West-Hennon, mother of Katie and Georgia Knoll, Bay Weekly general manager Alex Knoll’s half sisters.

Beyond personal loss, we all know the roll call of deaths to pancreatic cancer: virtual reality pioneer Randy Pausch, famous for his Last Lecture (; actress Joan Crawford, with actor Patrick Swayze now fighting it; musicians Dizzy Gillespie and Henry Mancini; Olympians Willye White and Charles Grimes; Killing Fields survivor Dith Pran.

In 2008, an estimated 37,680 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 34,290 will die, according to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

“Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States, yet it is the most under-funded, under-recognized and least-studied of the leading cancer killers,” says Annapolitan Wayne Tolson, who’s organizing the cocktail party in honor of his father.

Typically, pancreatic cancer is a cruel and quick killer: It took Norman Tolson in a week and seven hours after this diagnosis, his son says.

Seeking a fitting memorial, he chanced onto Anne Wozinak and Josh Sweat, who had also lost their fathers to pancreatic cancer. They joined the cause, as did Tolson’s sister Michele Lechowicz.

“Our goal is $15,000 to $20,000,” says Tolson. “It’s a very lofty first-year goal.” No highline sponsors signed on in this tough year, so Tolson is depending on ticket sales ($75), a silent auction and a memorial wall ($10) to start the ball rolling toward making A Purple Affair a “marquee event in the Annapolis area.”

One of the great lessons of this cancer is don’t wait. Have your good time for this good cause this November 15: and 8 Days a Week.

Sandra Olivetti Martin
Bay Weekly editor and publisher

© COPYRIGHT 2008 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.