Dinner benefits DHS grad with cancer | NevadaAppeal.com

Dinner benefits DHS grad with cancer

by Maggie O'Neill
Appeal Staff Writer

Kelly Ibarra has about 250 more tickets to sell, but just a few more days to find people to buy them.

The $5 tickets are to a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for Joey Conti, a graduate of Dayton High School who has chronic myeloid leukemia. He is in San Francisco this week seeking help.

“I want to try and make this a sold-out event,” said Ibarra, whose daughter went to school with Conti. “Like I said before, the community has been very gracious, and we have donations for raffle prizes and things. It’s just getting these tickets sold.”

About 55 tickets are gone – $275 worth. But Ibarra wants to sell all 328 tickets to raise $1,640 to give to the Conti family for medical bills. Conti’s mother said doctors told her he needs a bone marrow transplant.

The median age of CML diagnoses is 67, according to the Cancer Consultants Oncology Resource Center Web site. Conti was diagnosed at 18. CML, the abnormal growth of white blood cells, originates with a switch of genetic material from one chromosome to another chromosome, according to the Web site.

Up until this week, Conti worked whenever he could for about two days a week as a runner, busboy and kitchen assistant at Stew’s Sportatorium.

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“I love him,” said manager Diane Forsythe. “He works so hard.”

Some of his co-workers are planning to attend Sunday’s spaghetti dinner at 3 p.m. at the Carson City Senior Citizens Center.

“A lot of people (here) didn’t even know he was sick because he didn’t show it,” Forsythe said. “He never complained about it and never played the feel-sorry-for-me thing.”

In late August, Conti’s parents had a yard sale at their Dayton home to help offset medical expenses. Ibarra, who heard about Conti through her daughter and a Nevada Appeal article, stepped in to help.

Planning has been under way for the spaghetti dinner for weeks. She is planning on giving tickets to Friends in Service Helping and Advocates to End Domestic Violence for people who want to donate, but can’t attend the dinner.

The event features karaoke, raffle prizes and a silent auction, which includes a golf package for two at Dayton Valley Golf Course, a Capital Beverage surprise item and a tiger eye gemstone necklace. Senior Center chef Bob Baca will cook the spaghetti.

“I would encourage people to come when it starts,” Ibarra said. “We’ve going to have the food ready to go right from the beginning and then probably try to wrap up dinner around 5 p.m. or 5:30 p.m.. But if people are still coming in we’re going to feed them.”

A picture of Conti will be hung from a poster board at the entrance for people to write encouraging messages. “I just felt I want him to know we’re not trying to put on a pity party for him. We’re concerned about his well-being and his family’s well-being. I just want people to be able to give him that message.”

If you go

What: Dinner to benefit cancer patient Joey Conti

When: 3-7 p.m. Sunday

Where: Senior Citizens Center, 911 Beverly Drive.

Cost: $5

TICKETS: Call Kelly Ibarra at 883-0703

Or: Contribute to the Joey Conti Cancer Fund, account no. 6477449810, at any Wells Fargo bank.