NORWALK, Conn. -- Norwalk’s Allison Passero wants to raise awareness for gynecologic cancer. While many people are unaware of its existence and impact on families, she said the death of her mother in 2008 was a wake-up call for women everywhere.
Passero, the wife of Klaff’s chairman and chief operating officer Joe Passero, will host the second annual “Desigyns On Awareness” at Klaff’s on Thursday, Nov. 13, at the store’s Norwalk location at 28 Washington St. The event runs from 6-9 p.m. and supports gynecologic cancer services and research at Norwalk Hospital. People can register online .
The death of Passero’s 67-year-old mother, Weston resident Sara Herez, in 2008 provided the impetus for her interest in raising awareness for gynecologic cancer. Her mother was fit -- she ran 29 marathons -- and was involved in a wide array of community projects. She fought cancer for nearly three years before her death on May 7, 2008.
“My mother was incredibly healthy,’’ Passero said. “She ran her last marathon with a belly full of cancer. The symptoms were there, but nobody said anything before it was too late. To see someone you love so much have everything taken away, their youth, their family, it was painful to watch.”
Passero had limited involvement with other cancer before her mother’s passing. She realized gynecologic cancer fell under the radar of most people. “There’s so much attention toward breast cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and it’s deserved. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to do something in my mother’s memory, and bring awareness to this huge issue. It was my opportunity.”
Proceeds from the event go to the Whittingham Cancer Center to support programs for gynecologic cancer. Passero said they include genomic testing, integrative services, counseling, and testing if a high-risk patient cannot afford it.
Passero said last year’s event raised $50,000, and she is hoping for $75,000 this year. The event includes food from several area restaurants, wine and soft drinks.
“People were thrilled,’’ Passero said. “I received so many praises. Many people told me this is something no one has spearheaded or tried to do. And everyone knows that when they come to Klaff’s, we throw a great party. We’re very good hosts and hostesses.”
Passero said last year’s event was “sheer joy.” “It empowered me and looking out at the crowd, I was filled with such joy. I know my mother was looking down and that she was proud of me. Many people congratulated me on it being such a beautiful event and such a nice tribute to my mother.”
The event costs $100 per person. For more information, visit the event website .
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