Benefit at Virginia City's Red Dog Saloon Saturday

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VIRGINIA CITY - The Red Dog Saloon was rockin' on the Comstock Saturday afternoon and it was all for a good cause -- Carson City cancer patient Brooke Meister.

Richard and Mary Harris donated the use of the saloon and the food toward the spaghetti dinner for Meister.

Local businesses donated prizes for a raffle. Musicians from a few local groups got together to provide the music and the spaghetti was going for $5 a plate.

"The support from Virginia City has been unbelievable," Meister said. "I don't even live here, yet these people have opened their hearts to me."

Meister isn't anyone's idea of a cancer patient. A 24-year-old mother of five with two step-children, she's intense, open and quick with the answers.

Dressed in denim shorts and a T-shirt, she kept her hair tucked neatly under a baseball cap.

Meister was pregnant with her son in November when obstetrician Dr. Sandra Koch found the lump in her throat. She delivered a healthy son not long after and surgeries on the tumor began.

A biopsy May 5 led to the diagnosis and she had another surgery June 6, to remove the fast-growing tumor. She is now waiting to have radiation therapy, a procedure that should kill any cancerous thyroid tissue that remains.

The surgeries were covered by Medicaid, but she has no insurance and Medicaid won't cover the radiation therapy, which requires a four-day stay at Washoe Medical Center.

She said she's tried to raise money with some yard sales in Carson City, but hasn't had much luck.

"This was my mom's idea," Meister said, a gleam in her eye.

Head housekeeper at the Pi-on Plaza in Carson City, Meister's mom, Tamara McCluer, said the Red Dog is one of her favorite hangouts.

"The atmosphere is great and the music is awesome," she said. "My husband and I know Richard and Mary Harris, so we asked if it would be possible to have the benefit. They agreed and furnished everything, so that all the money can go to the cause."

She said doctors were worried, because her daughter was diagnosed at such a young age, but the prognosis is good, for this type of cancer.

"We're keeping a positive attitude," McCluer said. "We've got to."


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