By JEFF MEYERS Press-Republican
---- — MORRISONVILLE — Richard Lamoy took a chance when he first decided to open a winery on Soper Street in Morrisonville eight years ago.
Lamoy’s family had been in agriculture his entire life, and he has used that experience to create a successful business with a top-notch vineyard and retail shop.
But the North Country native faces his biggest challenge to date: He was diagnosed last year with follicular lymphoma, a cancer of the blood and lymphatic system.
“I wasn’t feeling good all summer,” Lamoy said of the precursor to a trip to the doctor’s office for a case of kidney stones. “Dr. (John) Banko told me he saw something that didn’t look quite right (while treating the kidney stones) and referred me to a cancer doctor. Two days later, I found out about the cancer.”
Follicular lymphoma, a fairly common form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is a slow-growing cancer, but Lamoy’s illness had reached Stage 3, and doctors wanted to begin regular chemotherapy treatments.
“With these new drugs, there are fewer side effects,” Lamoy said. “Today, I’m feeling a little ill (following a treatment two weeks ago), but I’ve been able to keep working throughout treatments.”
Lamoy will be hosting a wine and cheese fundraiser at his business, Hid-In-Pines Vineyard on Soper Street in Morrisonville, on Saturday, June 1. Ironically, Soper hosted the same event last year, well before he became so personally involved in cancer diagnoses and treatments.
“I met Richard while going to the Plattsburgh Farmers Market,” said Anne Lautenschuetz, a 17-year cancer survivor and member of the Treasure Chests Breast Cancer Support Group. “A lot of women in the support group thought it would be a great idea to support his business while raising money to support our Relay for Life team.”
Last year’s event was held on a gray, rainy day, but more than 75 people attended and helped the Treasure Chests raise nearly $400 for Relay for Life.
“This year, we’re realistically looking for two (hundred) to 300 people,” Lamoy said. “We have a lot going on this year.”
The event will run from noon to 8 p.m. with wine-tasting going at $10 per person. There will also be raffles and entertainment from Jay Lesage; Taylor Renae LaValley; Abigail Clark; Truth Be Told; Completely Stranded; and Ben Bright, the former “American Idol” contestant.
Lautenschuetz was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30 and while she was pregnant with her second son, Tyler.
“He’s a healthy 16-year-old now, and a lot of thanks for that goes to the American Cancer Society for their help and continued research,” said Lautenschuetz, who has also been cancer free for many years.
Kay Lynne Mark is also a breast-cancer survivor and member of the Treasure Chests. She has actually survived two bouts with breast cancer.
“The first time was about 16 years ago in 1997,” she said, noting that she was in her early 40s at the time. “My grandmother and aunt died from breast cancer, so I started taking annual mammograms when I was 35.”
Her second cancer was diagnosed six years ago and was again found quickly through regular exams.
“I attribute the fact that I’m alive now to see my granddaughter grow up to early detection and the progress we’ve made in cancer treatment,” she said. “Early detection saves lives.”
The Treasure Chests team will be participating in this year’s Relay for Life event on Friday and Saturday, June 14 and 15, at the Clinton County Fairgrounds. So far, 103 teams and 744 individuals have raised $76,665 toward cancer research.
Sponsors for the Treasure Chests Wine, Cheese and Chocolate fundraiser include Asgaard Farms, Conroy’s Organics, North Country Co-op, Adirondack Chocolates, Della Honda and Lee Appliance.
Email Jeff Meyers:email@example.comIF YOU GO The Treasure Chests Wine, Cheese and Chocolate fundraiser for the Relay for Life will be held from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at Hid-In-Pines Vineyard, 456 Soper St. in Morrisonville. To register, visit the event's Facebook page, Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Tasting, at http://is.gd/ZFp3zZ; or call Anne Lautenschuetz at 293-7097.