Ed Myszak wanted to fight back.
After his mother lost her battle with cancer in 2005, Myszak decided to take the fight head on the only way he knew how.
“I woke up one morning and it literally just hit me,” Myszak said. “I went to bed thinking, ‘I wish I could have done something more.’ I woke up and it just kinda hit me over the head. Maybe I had a dream about it. I don’t remember the dream if I did. I talked to the bar about it and we ran with it and went from there. The bar was receptive when I told them about it.”
And with that, the annual Kegs For Cancer fundraiser was born.
The 2009 event will be held this Saturday at the Blarney Stone in Philadelphia at 3929 Sansom Street. From 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., the fundraiser allows guests two hours of open bar for $20 with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society and Great Guy Group. After the two hours are up, a guest can renew the deal for an additional $20. The open bar is limited to domestic drafts and well liquor.
Kegs For Cancer has raised more than $10,000 for the American Cancer Society and the Great Guy Group to date.
Local Philadelphia teams have helped support the cause over the years. Myszak said that in years past, the Philadelphia Flyers, Phantoms, 76ers, and Soul have all donated merchandise to the fundraiser. Independent donors have also chipped in three pairs of Eagles tickets.
Myszak regularly attends a dinner for the Philadelphia chapter of Coaches vs. Cancer, a cause which he had very high praise for, although he admitted he and his guests may look a little out of place.
“They give me my own table, basically,” he said. Myszak said that written on the back of his table’s place card last year was, “We rule and we know it.”
“People looked at it and were like, ‘What the hell?’” he said. “Then they saw us and they understood.” The 2009 dinner will be held May 9 at the Chester Valley Golf Club.
Myszak has also promoted Kegs For Cancer on “Hawk Talk,” a weekly TV show on Philadelphia cable with St. Joseph’s basketball coach Phil Martelli.
While there won’t be any sports memorabilia given away in Philadelphia this year, Myszak and his younger brother, Marc, are working to set up a Kegs For Cancer event in the Pittsburgh area, where the younger brother currently resides. They have already raffled off Pittsburgh Penguins tickets to donate to the cause. Myszak said they are close to setting a date in Pittsburgh, but nothing is set in stone yet.
When he moved to Annapolis, Md., in 2008, Myszak had to put the ’08 edition of Kegs For Cancer on hiatus but hopes holding an event in both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in 2009 will make up for it.
“I had it set up (in 2008) and had to bail,” he said. “I felt awful that I didn’t do it. It’s a part of me now.”
Myszak said that he hopes to raise $7,000 between the two events this year. He said that it’s possible the fundraiser may expand to Annapolis, as well, but mentioned that he wants to finalize the event in Pittsburgh before thinking seriously about taking on a third event.
The Kegs For Cancer MySpace page can be found at: http://www.myspace.com/kegsforcancer.
The Kegs For Cancer Facebook page can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?sid=e217af498e17ef59f508bee59697be59&gid=2236822667.