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Benefit show to aid Scottdale native's fight against leukemia

| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Jim Faris, with wife Jennifer, continues his battle with leukemia, the disease with which he was diagnosed in 2011.

Scottdale native Jim Faris was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in September 2011.

Treatments for such a disease can be costly. Sure, insurance picks up some of the tab, but the rest of the expenses for medical needs does add up.

With that in mind, a “Rocking For A Cure” leukemia benefit is scheduled Dec. 14 at the Everson VFW. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., with the event scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Entertainment will be provided by Rich Sheldon and Steve Hawk.

The price tag for a ticket is $35 and includes entertainment, dinner and draft beer, as well as one free ticket for a door prize. All proceeds will benefit Faris.

“He's been really sick,” explained Jennifer Dzambo Hosaflook, a Scottdale native. “One day my friend Kathy (Jim Faris's sister) said they really wanted to help him out (by) doing something. I said this was the way to go, a benefit....A lot of what he's going to go through isn't covered. This was just a good way to raise money to do it. Pretty much the community has come together.”

Faris, 42, currently lives in Greensburg with Jennifer and their two sons Jack, 11, and Jude, 4.

AML is a cancer of the bone marrow and the blood that progresses quickly without treatment. It affects mostly cells that aren't developed. These cells can't carry out their normal functions.

Faris was set to have for a second stem cell treatment this month, but a match has not yet been found.

Hosaflook has been involved in the coordinating of the event with help from her friend Jennifer Banks, a Scottdale resident, and her sister Mandy Dzambo DeFrank. Hosaflook said her, Banks and Kathy Faris have been friends for many years.

Activities planned at the fundraiser include a Chinese auction, raffles and food donated by Carson's Premier Catering and Banquet Hall.

“Jim and I grew up together,” said Tim Carson, owner of Carson's Premier Catering. “There wasn't even a question in my mind. Something I do is food, so this was a no-brainer. I have a couple small children. I don't know what it would be like to go through something like this. It's gut wrenching. Sometimes, you realize just how precious life is.”

Faris was the best man at Carson's wedding.

The entertainment is expected to highlight the evening.

Sheldon is a 1992 graduate of Southmoreland High School who now plies his trade in California, playing music described as American folk rock.

Hawk is a local artist whose refers to his music was original and independent solo acoustic rock 'n' roll, laced with blues, stricken with punk, and lyrically angst. His niece is Sydney Hawk, 4, who suffers from leukemia.

“His family has really helped us out a lot,” Hosaflook said. “They've donated (about) 15 baskets for our auctions.”

Hosaflook said an account has been set up on Faris's behalf at Scottdale Bank & Trust

“We have already started putting money directly into his account,” she said. “I'm pretty impressed, myself, with how this has all kind of rolled. ... I've been very emotional about it. It's been sad to see him go through it.”

Tickets can be purchased by calling Hosaflook at 724-601-1958 or Banks at 724-331-1711. If any tickets remain, they will be available at the door. There were 225 tickets available from the start, with about 75-100 tickets remaining as of Dec. 2.

If someone is interested in contributing but can't make the fundraiser, donations may be made by calling Hosaflook or Banks.

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or