Marianne Ricciardi of Huntley knows all too well the emotional toll that goes along with watching a child battle — and then lose that battle — with cancer.
Ricciardi's son, Pasty (Pasquale) Ricciardi, died 10 years ago when he was 25 years old after a three-year battle with a rare pediatric bone cancer known as Ewing's Sarcoma Pediatric Cancer.
If the emotional toll wasn't enough, Marianne said her family struggled financially trying to pay for the medical expenses to help save their son's life. The chemotherapy to help fight Pasty's cancer required five days of in-patient care every three weeks the initial year he was diagnosed, which cost $138,000 each time, she said.
"The cost of the medical treatment and all it encompasses for this disease is staggering," said Marianne, adding that they maxed out their insurance trying to pay for the treatment. "I kept borrowing against my home, eventually lost it after he passed and (was) forced into bankruptcy with close to $1 million in medical expenses."
In Patsy's third year of chemo, Marianne began researching alternative treatments. They applied for a stem cell clinical trial.
"However due to the progression of his disease, he was denied," she said. "Knowing that his poor results in the trial would have prevented further development and having so much compassion for the kids he met in treatment, he accepted this but asked me to promise to help other children whose families were undoubtedly feeling the same financial distress we were over the years with medical expenses."
She kept that promise with her son and started a non-profit organization called Friends for Patsy Sarcoma Fund. Tonight will be the first night of Lake in the Hills Bingo — an event that will raise money for the Friends for Patsy Sarcoma Fund.
"All proceeds after expenses goes directly to families effected by ES (Ewing's Sarcoma)," Marianne said.
Bingo will start at 7 p.m. at the American Legion Post 1231 building, 1101 W. Algonquin Road. Doors open at 6 p.m.
There will be a full bar and snack bar. Regular Bingo cards start at $5 and Bingo game prizes will range from $25 to $250.
"Over time, Bingo has been a proven steady way to raise funds for organizations while establishing a great community event as well," Marianne said.