March 23, 2016 By Michael Florio
A fundraiser helped collect more than $14,000 for a Long Island City man who has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
The LIC-Astoria Lions Club decided to put together the fundraiser after hearing that Ryan West, a 31-year-old Long Island City resident, was diagnosed with cancer in September.
West was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer, which has spread to his liver and lymph nodes, according to Brenton Hard, who helped organize the fundraiser.
The event was called “Night at the Races,” where participants bet on old horse races to race funds.
Hard said the club had tapes of eight old European horse races, with the names taken out so no one knew who won, and played them throughout the night.
“People were able to bet on these races and half of the proceeds went to Ryan,” he said.
The club decided to host the event in order to help West in his fight against cancer.
“He’s looking at a lot of money for medical coverage,” Hard said. “We wanted to support him and his fight and raise some money.”
West was thankful that so many people gathered to help his fight.
“It was remarkable that so many people I know came out to support me,” West said. “When I beat cancer the remaining funds will be donated to causes circling around cancer.”
The event was held on Feb. 26 in the Irish Center, located at 10-40 Jackson Ave. Tickets were $50 and 130 guests attended. There were also raffles and donations.
In total the club raised $14,890 that will go directly to West, according to Hard. This number exceeded Hard’s expectations when the club first started planning the fundraiser in late November.
“At first I hoped to raise $5,000,” he said. “As it got bigger we hoped to raise $10,000 and we crushed both of those numbers.”
“This really speaks to Ryan and how many people want to support and help this young man while he goes through these hard times,” he added.
The event also exceeded West’s expectations.
“It was quite remarkable to see it sell out and raise so much funds,” he said. “It was great to raise the funds, but also to raise awareness.”