Battling cancer with wine and cheese

Get an early start on holiday shopping, sip a little wine, sample some cheese and help out cancer
research all at the same time Friday night.
A Wine and Cheese Tasting Party with raffles and a silent auction will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at
the Rodney Rogers and Sandra Earle home, 801 Pine Valley Drive. Proceeds benefit the American Cancer
Society. (Photo: Tim Westhoven, from left, Maria Weber and Michelle Evans with items that will be
auctioned off benefiting the cancer society. 11/2/09 (J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune))
On the auction block is a ring from Klevers Jewelry, a five-course meal for eight from Nazareth Hall, car
detailing donated by Andre’s, O’Neil and Lowe Insurance and five days at a cottage owned by Al and Mary
"We’re trying to do items that people would buy something for someone for Christmas," said
Michelle Evans, who is chairperson of the fundraising party. "You can give to charity and get to
Christmas shop."
The Rogers-Earle home will be decorated outside for the holidays. A lighted ice sculpture in the shape of
the cancer logo, donated by Winterfest 2010, will greet visitors.
Other raffle and auction items include handblown glass items, personalized Christmas ornaments and
wreaths, handmade quilts and gift certificates for a season’s worth of snow removal, restaurants, oil
changes and spa services. The catering for the evening is being donated by Heritage Corner Health Care
The party fundraiser has been going on for several years, said Evans. New this year is recognizing an
"honorary survivor."
"We’re trying to put a face to the cancer this year," said Maria Weber, who is this year’s
After battling cancer for most of her life – and winning – Weber feels it’s her responsibility to help
raise funds for the cancer society and bring awareness to the disease.
At age 16 she was diagnosed a rare tumor in her right leg. "To this day, they only see two to four
cases of this kind per million patients," said Weber, who is 49.
She underwent numerous surgeries and radiation treatments. She married and had a son, Mitchel, who is now
20 and a sophomore at Bowling Green State University.
When Weber was 35, they started building a log cabin in Bowling Green. They had been told to expect some
cracking and noises that come with that type of home.
One day she was folding laundry in her son’s room when she heard one of those, by now, familiar sounds.

"I heard this cracking noise and didn’t think about it," said Weber. The next thing she
remembers is being on the floor. Her femur had broken into pieces.
All of the surgeries, all of the radiation, had given her bone cancer. "When the bone broke, it set
the cancer off like a bomb."
The doctors determined she had osteogenic sarcoma. "They had to take my leg at the hip or I would
die inside seven to eight months."
After that, there was another cancer diagnosis and half of her pelvis was removed a year later.
"For whatever reason, this is my cross to bear," said Weber, who wears prosthesis. For all the
tragedy she’s been through, she feels blessed.
"I’m very lucky that I had family, friends, community to support us," she said. "A lot of
people don’t, they face cancer completely by themselves.
"That’s where the cancer society comes in. They give support, and do funding and research so we can
try to eradicate this disease."
Weber, along with WTOL-TV anchor Chrys Peterson, will make some remarks at Friday’s fundraiser.
"It’s not in my mentality to sit at home and feel sorry for myself," said Weber, who is a
massage therapist, massage theory instructor and aspiring author. "I don’t have time to have cancer
so we need someone to cure it."
For more information about the party call Evans at (419) 353-3223.