Written by Karen Gellender Friday, 03 June 2011 00:00
Plainview resident (and John F. Kennedy High School graduate) Serena Ahne is used to being part of a team; she and her friend, Lisa Leone, make up the “Traveling Baseball Babes” a pair that visit baseball stadiums all over the country and chronicle their experiences on a joint blog. So when it was time to get involved in fundraising for cancer research, the subject may have been far more somber, but their approach was the same: teamwork all the way.
The two have created the non-profit Fred K’s Cancer, which will host its second annual walk-a-thon on Sunday, June 26 at Cantiague Park in Hicksville. Last year’s event raised $2,400, a figure that the group hopes to top this year. The funds were split between the Oral Cancer Foundation and Sean Kimerling Testicular Cancer Foundation, both registered 501(c) 3 non-profit charities. “While the cancers may seem unrelated, there is a reason why we’ve chosen these particular diseases to support,” said Ahne.
Both Ahne’s and Leone’s fathers (who both happen to be named Fred) are cancer survivors; Leone’s father was diagnosed with oral cancer in 2003 and Ahne’s father was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2008. While both women wanted to raise money for oral and testicular cancer research specifically in their fathers’ honor, they had difficulty finding an event that would accommodate them; even the American Cancer Society could not guarantee that any funds raised would go toward research for those two cancers, Ahne stated.
“Since we couldn’t find a satisfactory avenue through which we could support our fathers, we chose to organize an event ourselves,” said Ahne. The reason for naming the organization “Fred” may be obvious, but not everyone immediately realizes what the K in ‘Fred K’s Cancer’ means: it refers to a strike-out in baseball scorekeeping.
In addition to raising funds for research, the organization hopes to educate people about oral cancer, a disease which they may not be familiar with, and about the importance of self-examinations in order to catch testicular cancer at its earliest stages. Ahne noted that while a lot has been done to raise awareness of breast and prostate cancers, people need to be aware of other cancers, such as what her and Leone’s father battled, as well.
Speaking of “the Freds,” both Fred Ahne and Fred Leone are currently cancer-free and doing well, said Ahne.
Registration for the two-mile walk will take place at 8 a.m. on June 26. While pre-registration is encouraged, it is not mandatory; the Fred K’s Cancer Walk will be happy to accommodate anyone who would like to come participate on the day of the walk. According to Ahne, the people who participated during the inception year had only positive things to say about the experience.
“It’s a very warm and cozy atmosphere that we have for each other, we all joke and…it’s just great to get out and support one another,” said Ahne.
However, even when the June 26 stroll through Cantiague Park is finished, Fred K’s Cancer’s fundraising isn’t necessarily over for the year; there are plans for a November Bowl-A-Thon in the works.
For more information about this event, please visit www.fredkscancer.blogspot.com.