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Benefit will help young child of ill mom


KINDERHOOK–After being treated with cryosurgery for uterine and cervical cancer, 16-year-old Jessica Romey was told that she could never have a child. Four years later, after falling in love with Greg Sitzer, she became pregnant. On April 27, 2007, she delivered a healthy boy whom the couple named Cameron. Now 22, Ms. Romey calls Cameron her “miracle baby and my lifesaver,” as she deals with stage IV colon cancer that’s spread to her liver, her kidney, her bones and her spine.

   Although she sometimes has to postpone picking up her medication until she can afford to–she receives Social Security disability income but the amount is minimally over that of her rent, and her fiancée was laid off from his 13-year job when Chatco closed–her concern is for her son. “I know that he’ll be well taken care of,” Ms. Romey told The Columbia Paper.

   The couple moved recently from Chatham to Nassau where her family is “right down the road.” And Mr. Sitzer is “a wonderful father” and “Doctor Mom” to her, she said.

   Her needs are not great: “My family, my fiancée and my baby, my bills paid, food in the fridge, food in my kid’s stomach, it’s all I need and I’m set to go. I just want to be comfortable and happy and know that my baby is taken care of.”

   Ms. Romey says she wants to give her son “the life that I wasn’t able to have, that he can go to school, get married, go to college, live a long life, remember his Mommy…”

   A fundraiser to provide for Cameron’s education takes place Saturday, July 18. The event begins with a 5K walk at 10 a.m. (registration begins at 9), starting at the Kinderhook Bank. The donation is $5 for one person and $10 for a family. Following the walk, there will be a barbecue cook-off, to which walkers and runners are admitted free. Others pay $5, with children free.

   The website of co-sponsoring organization Eat for a Cause, www.eatforacause.org, says, “Eating is something we all like to do. We eat at county fairs, restaurants, bowling alleys. Why not eat and know that your money is going to better the lives of someone in need! Why not Eat for a Cause?”

   Organization founder Marcy Coalter is working on getting donations of beverages and snacks. Contest entrants must provide their own grills, utensils and everything necessary to cook their specialty. To enter, call Ms. Coalter at (518) 392-3420. Those who don’t wish to enter are invited to attend and vote for a favorite. Anyone who wishes is welcome to pack a tailgate picnic and join in eating for the cause.

   The other co-sponsor is the Kinderhook Bank, where Mr. Sitzer’s sister, Melissa Jostlin, is an administrative loan assistant. She says that seeing what’s happening to Ms. Romey has been hard. “She is such a good person. It makes us all wonder why this can happen.”

   Cameron and his parents will be at the event to cheer people on.

   “Who knows?” Ms. Romey says, “Every day they’re discovering something, and maybe there’ll be a new cure and I’ll be home free. I hope that everything turns out to be okay. But you prepare yourself for the worst, and I accept it.”

    To contact Gail Heinsohn email gheinsohn@columbiapaper.com.

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