The memory of a local woman who died from pancreatic cancer around a year-and-a-half ago is being honored with a Fairytale Masquerade for the Cure to raise funds for the eradication of the deadly disease.
The fundraiser is set to take place from 7 p.m. to midnight Nov. 5 at Alexander’s Hall, located at 200 W. First St. in Farmington. Pre-event tickets can be purchased for $15 per person, or $25 per couple. At the door, the tickets will cost $20 per person or $30 per couple.
Ashley (McDowell) Driemeier has a special reason for hosting the event. The cancer victim in whose memory the fundraiser is being held is Driemeier’s mother.
“My mom, Linda (McDowell) Wheatley, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the end of 2013 and passed away in March of 2015,” Driemeier said. “I run for a group called Project Purple. They raise funds strictly for pancreatic cancer. They are a sponsor of scholarships and pancreatic cancer research. They also aid anyone who needs funds that has pancreatic cancer, as well.
Driemeier explained that her sister-in-law, Ann Stevens, came up with the idea for a fundraiser to help Project Purple in its fight against the frequently fatal disease.
“Ann went ahead with it and surprised me that she had things going already,” she said. “So, it’s being held in memory of my mom.”
Asked how she came up with such a unique idea for a fundraiser, Stevens said, “I’ve always wanted to do a masquerade ball, or at least go to one. And what better way than to do it for Linda. She was a kindergarten teacher for 29 years in the North County School District. Linda also taught some special classes when she first started, but it was mostly kindergarten.”
“We’re going to have the hall all decked out in purple linens all over the place,” Stevens said. “It holds 500 people, so there will be plenty of room,” Stevens said. “We have a DJ, Totally Sound, from Desloge. We also have a couple of caterers that will be preparing finger foods that include veggies, fruits and cheese plates. Then we have a sweet vendor coming in with different kinds of sweets that people can buy. There will also be a cash bar.
Stevens added that, while masks are required for those attending the fundraiser, the kind of mask worn is up to the individual.
“It can be any kind of mask,” she said. “It can be like the opera mask. There’s so many Mardi Gras masks out there with the large noses. It does not matter. It can be one that you buy, one that you make, one that you paint on yourself — it does not matter as long as they’re wearing a mask.”
And what does Driemeier, who served as logistics chairman for this year’s Relay For Life of St. Francois County, think about her sister-in-law planning a fundraiser in memory of her mother?
“I thought it was a wonderful idea,” she said. “It’s something different. There’s tons of trivia, golf tournaments and things like that. This is totally different. It’s something I think anybody can get into. So, come out and have fun with us.
Tickets for the event — which will feature a best dressed contest, door prizes and a silent auction — are available online at www.eventbrite.com. Click on “Fairytale Masquerade.”
For more information call 573-631-2379, 573-631-4519 or 573-631-3805.
Pancreatic cancer begins when abnormal cells within the pancreas grow out of control and form a tumor. There are two types of cells in the pancreas, the exocrine cells and endocrine cells. These cells also have different functions.
More than 95 percent of pancreatic cancers are classified as exocrine tumors. These tumors start in the exocrine cells that make pancreatic enzymes that help in digestion. Within this category, the vast majority of tumors are adenocarcinomas.
Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors — pancreatic NETs or PNETs — account for less than 5 percent of all pancreatic tumors. They may be benign or malignant and they tend to grow slower than exocrine tumors. They develop from the abnormal growth of endocrine, or hormone-producing, cells in the pancreas called islet cells. This is why these tumors are sometimes referred to as “islet cell tumors.”
Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors are either functional — produce hormones or nonfunctional — produce no hormones. The majority of PNETs are nonfunctional tumors.
Information courtesy of Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
“I’ve always wanted to do a masquerade ball, or at least go to one.” — Ann Stevens, event planner
Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or firstname.lastname@example.org