A fundraiser at Mahoning United Methodist Church to benefit a 12-year-old Boardman girl battling a rare form of cancer attracted more than 750 people Saturday, far exceeding the organizers’ expectations.
Co-workers of the girl’s mother, Anne Marie Salus, at Boardman Medical Supply, organized the event to help pay for costs related to the next phase of her daughter’s treatment.
Marissa Salus was diagnosed with chordoma, a rare type of cancer that occurs in the bones of the skull and spine, and is unusual in children.
She has since undergone two extensive surgeries, and the next phase of her treatment will begin in Philadelphia on July 10 and last for eight weeks. At that time, doctors will begin a rare form of radiation treatment to keep the cancer at bay.
Mary Cabuno, one of Anne Marie’s co-workers who worked closely to organize the fundraiser, said the event was necessary. Proceeds will go toward the family’s travel expenses and medical costs.
“It was a lot of work, but worth it,” Cabuno said of organizing the event. “We’re a close family at BMS, and we wanted to pull together to show our support.”
Though they had not yet tallied the amount generated at the benefit, Cabuno said attendance was beyond her expectations.
The fundraiser featured a spaghetti dinner, raffle, basket auction, dunking booth and other carnival-themed activities.
Anne Marie said she was overwhelmed by the level of support the family has received from the community and never expected so many people to attend.
She said Marissa is doing well and is in good spirits, considering the surgeries she’s been through. The family is focusing on getting through the next phase of her treatment.