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Masquerade gala to raise money for cancer fight

Kristen Koppers (second from right) is hosting masquerade galfor cancer research. Both her father late John Biksacky (left) mother Dianne

Kristen Koppers (second from right) is hosting a masquerade gala for cancer research. Both her father, the late John Biksacky (left), and mother, Dianne Biksacky (second from left), have battled cancer. Also pictured is Kristen's brother, Kevin Biksacky. | Supplied photo

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If you go

What: Masquerade Black Tie Gala

When: 7 to 11 p.m., Feb. 8

Where: 176 West Banquet Hall, 1100 NE Frontage Road, Joliet

Tickets: $75 each for those age 21 and up

Visit: www.masqueradegala.weebly.com

Contact: kkoppers@jths.org

Updated: February 10, 2014 11:46AM



Cancer attacks the body unseen until it shows itself through symptoms or testing. It can hide inside anyone.

That’s why everyone who attends the Masquerade Black Tie Gala fundraiser for cancer research Feb. 8 in Joliet will receive a mask, organizer Kristen Koppers said.

Tickets are available for the event, which will run from 7 to 11 p.m. at 176 West Banquet Hall, 1100 NE Frontage Road.

Koppers, an English teacher at Joliet West High School and founder of the school’s Relay for Life cancer awareness club, hopes the gala raises $10,000 for the American Cancer Society.

“A lot of people with cancer are asked, ‘What if you had one more day?’ ” Koppers said. “We’re hoping to raise money so those people can have that one more day.”

The event will feature a four-course meal, a disc jockey, guest speakers and 24 silent auction items ranging in value from $50 to $3,000. A professional photographer will be available to take pictures against a red-carpet backdrop, Koppers said. There will also be an open bar.

The fight against cancer is personal to Koppers. Her mother, Dianne Biksacky, of Channahon, is a breast cancer survivor. Koppers’ father, John Biksacky, died of pancreatic cancer in 2012, 15 months after his diagnosis.

“In the last two years since my dad’s death, eight people I know died of cancer,” she said.

Eight years ago, Dianne was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, which was treated with surgery, two rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, Koppers said. Her father’s only symptom was a stomach ache, which turned out to be colon cancer and Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, she said.

Distance made it easier for Koppers to deal with her mother’s cancer because Dianne was in Florida during her diagnosis and initial treatments, Koppers said. When her father became sick, Koppers accompanied him to appointments and asked the hard questions.

“For the last two months, my dad was in the hospital and not functional. It was sad to see him that way,” she said. “With further research, we might be able to make life more manageable for those battling cancer.”



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