'Boaters for the Cure' raise $9,000 at gala
by Jack Nakel 
Nakel is on the communications

committee; Komen Race for the Cure.

Eastlake - Chagrin Lagoons Yacht Club isn't the biggest on Lake Erie but its members may have the biggest hearts.
The club's annual "Dinner for a Cure" banquet and auction recently raised a whopping $9,000 for the Northeast Ohio Race for the Cure.  

Originally planned as a one-time fund-raising event in 2000 after one club member and various friends and relatives of other members were diagnosed with breast cancer, the club recently held its third charity dinner and auction. "The food has become legendary because everything is homemade including the spaetzel that is served with chicken paprikash," said member Christine Halas. "Other items on the menu include steak, Lake Erie perch, and lasagna. But besides the financial contribution to the Komen Foundation,  the event is making more and more people aware of breast cancer."

"This event has 'snowballed' every year because people realize cancer touches almost everyone," said club member Carol Caimi, "and that's why we open the event to the public." 

Another CLYC member, Barb Bonfanti, said the event creates excitement throughout the entire community "We hear from people who want to help, who offer prizes," she said enthusiastically. "Even club members who aren't very active will attend." Bonfanti's daughter, Melissa, 22, is involved in a volunteer group called "Our Next Generation for the Cure" that provides assistance at each dinner and also solicits donations from local merchants. 

"Every day is a gift and life is short, so I do this for people who could get breast cancer in the future," said Melissa. "I stay involved because it's important. It's not just helping one person, it's helping a lot of people." 

Because the dinner has been supported so enthusiastically by the CLYC members and the Eastlake community, Christine Halas foresees other fund-raising events including boat races or fishing tournaments. Denise Moebius, a CLYC member and breast cancer survivor, believes the Dinner for the Cure helped create a closeness among its members that had a significant effect on her life. 'These are the most wonderful people,' Moebius said of those who help organize the event. 'There is no way I could have endured my chemotherapy or recurrence without them. They were here for me, and they still held the dinner.'

Next year's "Dinner for the Cure" will be held in April, 2003. "The event is open to the public," said Carol Caimi. "We're always looking for more people to become involved, to take us to the next level." For information contact Boaters for a Cure at  .