Medina Journal-Register — EAST SHELBY — They came, hundreds in all, carrying similar memories of times filled with despair, but eased by a helping hand that appeared with understanding and financial assistance.
The 24th Knights Kaderli Memorial Fund Walk/Run was a chance for those touched by the charitable fund’s good work on behalf of cancer patients in Orleans County to pay their gift forward.
They burst forward together from the East Shelby Fire Hall with energy, raising what was estimated early Saturday to be around $20,000 that will directly assist those facing medical bills, transportation costs and financial difficulties in addition to cancer.
“The big thing is that they do it because we’ve helped and they want to do something to help,” said Mary Kaderli Zelazny. “We started with 20 people, but as people have been helped they become members of this family.”
The annual “family” reunion has become a First Saturday in October tradition, from the walk to a picnic and the day of activities at the fire hall.
Many of the walkers and runner have come back year-after-year. Darlene Rich walked with her twin sister Sharlene Saturday for what she thought was probably the 23rd time, dating back to when she would walk with her late son.
The fund helped Rich personally when he was receiving treatment for brain cancer and again when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, covering co-pays for medicines not covered by insurance and transportation to Rochester and Buffalo for treatment.
“It was a relief to know that things were taken care of,” said Rich, who underwent six months of radiation and chemotherapy. “The (funding) covered all the way until my last treatment.”
The fund’s local focus is the glue that bonds the community together. Recipients must be Orleans County residents receiving treatment for cancer.