A beloved Burbank native battling cancer will be honored during the Family Service Agency’s seventh annual 5k CareWalk on Saturday, May 10, around Johnny Carson Park.
The event is being dedicated to Jeri Buliavac who is undergoing chemotherapy for esophageal cancer. A local hairstylist, for many years she has rallied support of the Family Service Agency through her large customer base, said Eric Hansen, CareWalk public relations chair.
Buliavac was diagnosed in November and started chemotherapy at the first of the year and goes for treatments every two weeks, said her cousin Elise Stearns-Niesen. She continues to work at Headlines Salon on Magnolia Boulevard.
“Her work keeps her going,” Stearns-Niesen said. “During her latest oncology appointment last week she found out that her cancer markers were down, which means that the combination of chemo and regime of meds are working and killing the cancer cells.”
Buliavac been a great friend to the Family Service Agency. Even last Christmas, she told her clients not to give her cash bonuses, but to donate to the Family Service Agency or bring in nonperishable food items for Burbank Temporary Aid Center.
“She’s just one of these generous people who would give you the shirt off her back so all the goodness she has put out in the world is coming back to her like there is no tomorrow,” Stearns-Niesen said. “She’s an amazing woman.”
Buliavac and Stearns-Niesen started an exercise group years ago called the Dirty Divas and they group put on a garage sale about three weeks ago and raised $3,800 in one day. The funds will help supplement Buliavac’s income when she is too exhausted from chemotherapy to go to work.
Buliavac is grateful for the support she receives from family and friends who she calls her “village”.
“I have to thank my family and friends for all the support and the prayers and especially the people who come into my shop just to hug me,” Buliavac said. “I get no less than five cards a day. I am humbled, I’m grateful and, at the end of the day, I am blessed. And I’m honored they want to dedicate the walk to me. That was a big surprise.”
Buliavac has a couple of friends who work at Family Service Agency and other friends have benefitted from its services, she said. A few years ago, she started a food drive at Christmastime. The first year, she collected 2,000 cans of food and took some to BTAC and some to Family Service Agency along with a cash donation she raises from her salon clients.
“I just think Family Service Agency is a fabulous organization and I think we should pay it forward, so I have done that for Christmas the last three years,” she said.
Buliavac celebrated her 50th birthday early with a party on Saturday and asked the guests to make a donation for Family Service Agency. She raised over $2,000 thanks to everyone’s generosity.
On-site registration for the CareWalk begins at 7:30 a.m. and the walk starts at 8. Entry fees are $30 for adults; $20 for senior adults and youth from kindergarten to 12th grade; and teams of no more than 10 people are $175 for senior adults and youth from kindergarten through 12th grade, and $275 for adults. Included in the fee are a T-shirt, gift bag and breakfast of pancakes, sausages or bacon and fruit.
All proceeds benefit its no-cost, school-based counseling program, which provides a counselor on-site during school hours at each campus in the Burbank Unified School District.
Entertainment will be provided by the jazz band from Jordan Middle School. For more information, visit www.carewalkofburbank.org.