Warrior strong

Cornhole tournament raises money for fight against breast cancer

Submitted photos Michelle Apple said animals played such a big part of her recovery from breast cancer. Here she poses with a canine friend. An animal lover, Apple volunteered her time walking dogs at the 2019 ABC Warrior Cornhole Tournament in Boardman.

BOARDMAN — “Breast cancer doesn’t define you,” survivor Michelle Apple said. “Let it inspire you to help others.”

That’s exactly what Apple intends with the annual Apple Breast Cancer Warrior Foundation cornhole tournament, held each October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

This year’s cornhole tournament will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 10 in Boardman Park. It will include raffles, music, cash prizes and giveaways. Cost is $60 per two-player team and first place nets half the total entry fees collected. Other prizes include lottery tickets and Amazon gift cards.

A bake sale, gift baskets and other fundraisers also will take place.

Money raised will go toward paying medical bills, deductibles and travel expenses not covered by insurance for local breast cancer patients as they go through treatment.

Apple Breast Cancer Warrior Foundation (ABC Warrior) is a local advocacy organization dedicated to creating awareness of breast care, prevention of breast cancer and raising money to support warriors in their journey of fighting breast cancer.

Founder Michelle Apple, 50, of Boardman, is a three-year survivor of Stage 3 metastatic breast cancer who said she has dedicated herself to helping others on the same difficult journey she continues to travel.

“I wanted to help patients with the financial and emotional burdens,” Apple said. “As I went through it, I received a lot of support, and I wanted to pay it forward.”

Apple graduated from Youngstown State University on a softball scholarship. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2018, her battle included removal of 21 cancerous lymph nodes, a mastectomy, removal of ovaries, four months of chemotherapy and 40 sessions of radiation.

A registered and licensed dietitian, and a former weight lifter, Apple said she established ABC Warrior Foundation in November 2019 “to give back to others” while staying strong for her own fight.

ABC Warrior is just one of the of the many outcomes of Apple’s desire to thank those in her life who have and continue to support all advocates of breast cancer research and fundraising. The annual cornhole is just one of the events she operates for that purpose.

Last month ABC Warrior sponsored a softtball tournament in Canfield.

Another event was a Comfort Bag Fundraiser to deliver bags containing a a gift card, lip balm, blanket with a personalized message of hope, hand lotion and sanitizer and other items to the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center in Youngstown, Hope Center in Warren and Youngstown, and an oncology hospital in Pennsylvania.

The Warriors also created comfort bags as a holiday blessing during the Christmas season.

“Fighting cancer any time of year is difficult,” Apple states on her website. “At the holidays time of year, it becomes even more emotional as cancer fighters may be in the hospital away from their families or may not feel well enough to join traditional holiday events.”

Other fundraisers are held throughout the year.

“I tell all breast cancer patients it’s important to continue as much normalcy as possible and do not let it define you,” Apple said.


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