The fight resumes
Annual breast cancer event returns, moves to county fairgrounds
BAZETTA — The annual This Means War Against Cancer Breast Cancer Raffle Auction & Vendor Show fundraiser has returned for 2021.
But it’s undergone a face-lift.
Canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event is back with a vengeance, having expanded from a single day to a two-day event — this Saturday and Sunday — to accommodate an expanded vendor show.
Another significant change to event is the venue. This year, it moves from the Southington Local Schools complex to the Trumbull County Fairgrounds in Bazetta.
While that gives more room for expanded raffles, auctions and vendors, it means that the traditional three-on-three basketball tournament has gone into timeout.
This Means War Against Breast Cancer organizers said the changes happened for several reasons, with one of the biggest being the continued threat of COVID-19. Outdoor activities seem safer than close and frequent contact in a gymnasium.
In addition, the Trumbull County Fair Board accommodated the nonprofit organization’s need for ease of set-up, display and overall process of a vendors show.
“The Trumbull County Fairgrounds are a perfect location for us,” said Connie Silvernail, president of This Means War. “Its centralized location makes it easily accessible to area residents. Its grounds provide ample parking and allow us to offer a festival-like atmosphere that will be fun for the entire family.
“We thank the Trumbull County Fair Board for supporting our efforts to help the community.”
This Means War Against Breast Cancer was created in 2011 to help Beth Ann Vanek of Southington with her medical bills. Vanek decided to make it an annual event to help others with breast cancer with out-of-pocket medical expenses. Applications are taken each year and the This Means War board chooses a recipient.
The all-volunteer group has raised $97,500 for Trumbull County breast cancer survivors since the inaugural fundraiser in 2011.
This year, money raised will help Rachel Elliott of Cortland, a 37-year-old mother of three who was diagnosed with Stage III triple negative breast cancer in October.
Elliott has undergone two surgeries, aggressive chemotherapy and 28 rounds of radiation, with one more surgery to go this year.
Money raised will help alleviate out-of-pocket medical bills. Elliott missed six months of work as a dental hygienist at Cortland Dental Technology Center due to her treatments and the COVID-19 pandemic, and her husband, Shannon, took an hours and pay cut to be available at home for Rachel and the kids. In April, his job as a service technician was eliminated due to downsizing.
Vanek said the event goes beyond simply raising money for breast cancer survivors. It also serves as the community’s public display of support for their neighbors.
“The outpouring of support we’ve had this year has been incredible,” Vanek said. “From our longtime sponsors like Great Lakes Cheese who have never wavered in their support to new businesses such as Curtis Layer Design /Build stepping in at a challenging time, it just goes to show you how caring our community is.”
The Raffle-Auction, formerly known as a Chinese auction, will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the fairgrounds. The more than 100 items up for bid include Kings Island and Splash Lagoon passes, a flat-screen TV, scratch-off Ohio Lottery tickets, a Mega Meat Bundle, a crossbow, free steak for a year from Texas Roadhouse and gift certificates to parks, sporting events and restaurants.
General item tickets are 2 for $1. Tickets for items valued at $100 or more are $1 each and tickets for items valued at $300 or more are $5 each. Winners do not need to be present for the 6:15 p.m. drawing, which will be streamed live online at facebook.com/WarAgainstBreastCancer.
The Vendor Show will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday with a variety of regional makers, artisans and direct sales specialists offering personalized clothing and accessories, jewelry, seasonal decorations and decor, customized chainsaw-crafted creations, handmade fishing lures and other handcrafted items.
The event also will feature food trucks, live music, princess and superhero characters from Castle on a Cloud Entertainment, archery and ax-throwing contests, pumpkin painting.
A mobile mammography van also will be on the grounds.
Admission and parking are free.
Sponsors include Great Lakes Cheese and Adams Reserve, the Trumbull County Fair Board, Curtis Layer Design / Build and the Mullee family / Boss Babes LLC.