At on Saturday, a crowd of 650 people came together to support the efforts of , which provides support to those touched by cancer.
The second annual event raised $130,000, exceeding the $100,000 goal and beating out last year's total of $75,000. This year's event even included A Car for All Seasons raffle in which a lucky winner got a one-year lease with a different car every three months from Collection Auto Group.
The second annual event grew from last year, drawing 100 more attendees, but volunteer, board member and Crocker Cooks Casino Night chair Sandy Borrelli wants even more people to know about The Gathering Place.
"I first got involved when I was diagnosed four years ago," she said. "But, I really got engaged when I started using the services. I got a sense of what it was about."
The Gathering Place offers all kinds of support for people with every kind of cancer from a well-stocked library to massage therapy to support groups.
"When you're first diagnosed, you don't know what to do," Borrelli said. "The hospital meets your physical needs, but you need more than that. This really fills a need for people who feel lost."
And the support is offered to everyone of all ages. Many programs welcome cancer patients and survivors to bring their significant other, their children or anyone else who wants to come with them. There are also many resources for people dealing with cancer in a loved one.
"It's really good to know there's somewhere my 2-year-old nephew can go if he has questions about why my hair is falling out, or just anything," Borrelli said.
But it's not all about cancer at The Gathering Place. With many more people surviving a cancer diagnoses, Borelli says it's all about survivorship now.
"It's a place that teaches people how to live, and how to live well," she said. "For me, I learn to live the life I'm living to the fullest."
And for anyone who is a little hesitant to visit The Gathering Place, Borelli says all you have to do is walk through the door.
"Just make that step," she said. "Whatever your preconceived notion is, you'll see what it really is when come in. It's a very safe place."