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Survivor steps up to the plate

Tom Jackson • Mar 28, 2014 at 6:10 PM

Cancer survivor Larry Riedy’s hunger to help Cancer Services of Erie County grew as he saw how much help the local agency provided to him and to his wife, Cherie.

An annual April spaghetti dinner Riedy has organized to help Cancer Services has raised more than $97,000 over the past decade.

Want to go?

•WHAT: Annual spaghetti dinner to benefit Cancer Services of Erie County. Raffles and entertainment are also planned, with prizes donated by local merchants

•WHEN: Noon to 7 p.m. April 6

•WHERE: Sons of AMVETS Post 17, 307 Putnam St., Sandusky

•COST: Tickets are $8, available in advance from Cancer Services or at the door

Riedy and his pasta-wielding volunteers are back, inviting community members to gobble up modestly priced dinners for a good cause on April 6. It will be his 11th event.

Riedy said it’s a “fun-raising” event, enjoyed by the 800 to 900 people who turn up every year.

“Larry Riedy has done a tremendous job year after year organizing this event,” said Peg Miller, executive director of Cancer Services. “He and his wife, Cherie, have put so much time into this event that there are no words to say how grateful we are”

Riedy, 67, retired from the construction business, explained he was diagnosed with cancer about 12 years ago.

“I didn’t know what to expect with my life,” he said. “I was fortunate enough the first one went well. I had part of my lung removed”

A tumor returned a year later in Riedy’s back and ribs, and he had to undergo surgery again.

“Fortunately, they got everything,” he said. “For the last 11 years I’ve been blessed that everything has been great”

Riedy is a positive person, said his wife, Cherie Riedy.

“Everything for him, the glass is half full” she said.

Larry Riedy said Cancer Services provided him with a great deal of help when he went through his cancer ordeal.

The agency paid for his medications and the rib belt he needed to wear after surgery. The staff offered to help him with transportation and gave him Ensure so he’d keep up with his nutrition.

The emotional support also helped, Riedy said.

“It was not about dollars and cents” he said. “They are just such loving people there”

Cherie Riedy said she knows from her own experience Cancer Services helps the spouses of people struggling with cancer.

“I just didn’t know from day to day what was going to happen,” she said. “He was so positive. I was scared all of the time.

“Not only did they do everything he told you they did, but they were a great supporter of the spouse.” When she was depressed or needed someone to talk to, “they were always there for me” she said.

Cherie Riedy helps her husband with the annual event. The couple have been married for 45 years.

The two met at the Hills Department Store in Perkins Plaza. At the time, he was the main stocker, and she was the main cashier.

“I think I liked him from the very beginning,” she said. “He’s always been outgoing and a go-getter”

The couple had to carry out the courtship without the Internet or text messages, but they managed.

“We used to have a janitor who kept running notes back and forth,” Larry Riedy said.

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