Tequilas Burbank has partnered with community event organizer and myBurbank reporter, Ashley Erikson to coordinate their 2nd annual Cancer Awareness Fundraiser Dinner together on Wednesday, November 1st. The event will be a non-host dinner where 20% of the proceeds will be donated to the Center for Clinical Genetics and Genomics at the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center of Burbank’s Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center.
The event will begin at 6:00 p.m. and include guest speakers addressing cancer detection and prevention topics. Ali Spuck, a Burbank resident and mother with chronic cancer, will be sharing her inspiring story of perseverance and hope. Burbank Police Chief Michael Albanese will also be a speaker and share his family’s story of breast cancer. Miles Picus and Kayley Krystkowiak are Genetic Counselors at the Disney Family Cancer Center and will also be attending the event as speakers to give some insight into genetic testing and early prevention as a way to bring awareness to cancer detection.
The Burbank’s pink police cruiser is wrapped to honor breast cancer awareness month. We will be at the event again for photo ops and to show support for the event. New this year is Burbank student Isabella Meneses, who will be gracing the event with her incredible voice. Meneses will be singing a couple of inspiring and moving songs throughout the evening to highlight those past and those still battling cancer now.
“Our hope is that our guests leave our event feeling loved, supported, hopeful and empowered,” said owner Patricia Franco Rivera. “We want our guests to know there are resources and organizations that can help them navigate the medical system. We want our guests to be proactive.” Franco’s ultimate takeaway for the event is honor, hope, inspiration, and encouragement.
Patricia and Carlos Rivera have held an annual ovarian cancer event off and on for the past eight years to commemorate Patricia’s mother and sister, who both suffered from ovarian and cervical cancer and her father, who also passed from cancer. For the last two years, Patricia has focused the event on acknowledging all cancers in an effort to support the community and their customers who have lost someone they love to cancer.
This is also the second year that Tequilas Burbank has set up colored curtains in their back patio to represent the different colors of cancer awareness ribbons. They are inviting the community to honor their loved ones affected by cancer by visiting Tequilas and pinning a photo on the color curtain that correlates with the cancer awareness ribbon color. They are encouraging guests to email or message them on Instagram with their photos and they will print, laminate, and hang the photos on the curtains. You can email your picture to firstname.lastname@example.org
Patricia’s personal journey has inspired her to bring this event to the community every year due to her family’s cancer history and especially inspired by her little sister, Julie Franco. In March of 2021, she lost her sister, Julie, to ovarian and cervical cancer, the same cancer that their mother passed from. “It’s a heart-wrenching experience,” said Franco, about watching her sister undergo surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment. Julie’s surgery was at the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center, and she went into remission, but unfortunately, the cancer returned three years later. At that time, Patricia’s other sister, Yolanda, was also diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and passed shortly after on Christmas day.
“The aftermath of losing a loved one feels like it’s everlasting. Sometimes, the questions are endless: Why did my family members die of cancer? Could I have done something differently that would have helped them?” said Rivera. “The guilt of being somewhat healthy can quickly become a detriment to one’s health.”
The cancer awareness dinner fundraiser is not only a way to raise money but also a way for Franco to encourage her customers to be proactive through early detection and testing. “We should not allow cancer to take another life if it can be prevented by being proactive. One’s life is worth the effort. We owe it to our loved ones,” added Franco. Last year, the fundraiser raised $5,600 in donations, and they hope to raise just as much this year.
Here’s how to participate in this year’s fundraiser
- Donate at any time! Tequilas Burbank has a link to raise money all through the year to benefit the Genetics and Genomics program at the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center. Donate here: https://capsj.give.providence.org/give/f4223533/#!/donation/checkout
- Dine in or get take out any time during business hours on Wednesday, November 1st and let your server know before you order that you are there for the fundraiser, and Tequilas Burbank will donate 20% back to the cancer center.
- Attend the event on November 1st from 6-9 pm! 20% of your order from the night will be donated to the cancer center, and you’ll get to experience the touching evening of speakers and music. To RSVP, text 818-516-9250
Rivera was recently a guest on Erikson’s myBurbank podcast show, Women of Burbank, where they discussed the event and shared their emotional stories of family cancer, genetic testing, and preventive surgeries. You can watch the episode here to learn more about the history of Tequilas Burbank and the growth of this annual event. For more information on the event click here.
Tequilas Burbank is located at 4310 W Magnolia Blvd. Photo gallery below is from the 2022 Tequilas Burbank Cancer Awareness Dinner.