Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! I hope that the Holiday Season treated everyone well! Here at Camp Good Days, New Year’s Eve found us in Downtown Rochester, first at the Blue Cross Arena for the Rochester Razor Sharks home-opener. The Razor Sharks were kind enough to provide us with a table to sell kazoos to game attendees and to share some information about CANCER MISSION 2020. It was a great start to the season for the team as they started off with a victory. We also had tables set up at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, as part of the City of Rochester’s New Year’s Eve Celebrations. It was a great event with a great crowd and a number of family-friendly events and activities. Joining us were Bill and Desi Benet, as they usually do. Bill’s father, Joe Benet, started the Kazoo Fest some 66 years ago just a few blocks from where we were, at Sibley’s. It is amazing to see this holiday tradition still going strong so many years later, and what a blessing that this event benefits the children and families at Camp Good Days. The evening concluded as Bill and I were invited to join Rochester Mayor, Tom Richards and City Council Member, Dana Miller, on the stage outside to lead the crowd in Auld Lang Syne on the kazoos, which was then followed by a beautiful fireworks show. Wendy and I then headed home and watched the ball drop on TV, her sipping on some champagne and me sipping my diet coke.

Overall, we had a phenomenal Holiday Season and a special thank you goes out to the thousands of community members, many, many volunteers, as well as the managers and employees of the JC Penney stores at Eastview Mall, Marketplace Mall, and Greece Ridge Center Mall; as well as those at the Walden Galleria Mall in Buffalo; the Carousel Mall in Syracuse; and the Old Navy Store at The Shops at Ithaca, who all helped to make the 2011 Camp Good Days and Special Times’ Annual Joe Benet Memorial Kazoo Fest a resounding success generating more than $113,000 to support the children and families at Camp Good Days!

On New Year’s Day, I was looking forward to spending the day watching some football, only to be presented with Wendy hollering that she had stabbed herself while shucking oysters. So off we went, first to the Urgent Care in Pittsford, which was very crowded, and then to the Urgent Care in Henrietta. Everyone there was so nice and got Wendy’s injury cleaned and stitched up.

With the start of the New Year, we had for the first time in some weeks, all of our staff members back in the office and we had a Staff Meeting to get everyone caught up. On Wednesday, we hosted our Annual Open House and it was so nice to see so many friends, both new and old, who took the time out of their busy schedules to come and break bread and spend some time with our staff members and fellow visitors at our Mendon Office.

On Thursday we had our first Project Exile Advisory Board Meeting of the year and then I headed to the Monroe County Sports Commission Meeting, where I was elected to serve as Secretary of the Board for another term. On Thursday evening we had the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition & Auction Dinner Committee Meeting.

I am excited about the coming year and all that we have planned. We are now in the process of beginning to lay out the program schedule for 2012 and to put together our Camper Registration Forms and Volunteer Applications. We are fully committed to providing the best programs we can for all the children and families we serve and doing so at no cost to the participants. I continue to marvel at what a great community we have and the fact that we are able to generate the financial support necessary to provide our programs free of charge. Where else can you go where prices are the same that they were 33 years ago – that price being free?

In the coming year we want to expand our Young Adult Program. When we initially began offering this program, it was for those young men and women ages 18-29 dealing with cancer. We expanded the program to include ages 18-39 and we now will expand further by opening the program to those young men and women along with their significant other / friend.

We will also look at offering a Cycling Program for the women who participate in our Women’s Oncology Program, as well as to look at offering a Sailing Program for the women and the Young Adult Program participants.

We are in the full planning process for many of our special fundraising events and for a complete listing of these events as well as the details on how you can get involved, check out our website, You can also stay up-to-date with all that is going on at Camp Good Days by tuning into the Camp Good Days’ Radio Show, the first Thursday of each month on WYSL News Power 1040AM / 92.1 FM or online at

We are working full steam ahead with CANCER MISSION 2020 and I am excited about the legislation being drafted now, which will be introduced into Congress by Congressman Tom Reed, co-sponsored by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle, Congressman Richard Hanna and Congresswoman Kathy Hochul. With this legislation we will begin the Call To Action phase of CANCER MISSION 2020. We have been meeting and talking with Monroe County Executive, Maggie Brooks, and Dr. Byron Kennedy, Assistant Director of the Monroe County Department of Health, regarding a Cancer Plan here in Monroe County. I also had the chance to speak briefly with Rochester Mayor, Tom Richards, about this plan and I am excited that we will be taking a leadership here in Monroe County and the City of Rochester to address this issue.

To kick off the New Year, I had a featured interview about CANCER MISSION 2020 with Norma Holland, which aired yesterday on her “Many Voices, Many Visions” program on 13WHAM TV.

We are also looking to make some updates to the CANCER MISSION 2020 website,, so be sure to check out the site again and as always, please share the website, the mission, and the CANCER MISSION 2020 Petition with your colleagues, co-workers, family members and friends because if we are going to be successful it is going to start from the bottom and work up and it is going to take each and every one of us!