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In November, 2014 The ACMC Foundation celebrated the 10th anniversary of Tastings…and More! of the North Coast with its largest and most well-attended event as more than 190 people recently gathered at Mount Carmel Center to enjoy a variety of food and beverage pairings and view local artists working on their latest creations. The event raised money for expansion of cancer services at ACMC.

“The rate of occurrence of cancer in our county is significantly higher than the state and national averages,” said ACMC Healthcare System President & CEO Michael Habowski.

“It is important to have cancer care available here in our county. Patients undergoing chemotherapy should not have to face the added burden of traveling to receive their treatment,” he said. “The renovated space will allow us to serve more patients right here at home.”

Habowski said plans for renovations in the cancer center building call for additional private exam rooms, physician office space, additional infusion chairs and a dedicated oncology pharmacy. The project will expand the hospital’s volume capacity and enhance its delivery of care.

Tami Netkowicz, Executive Director of the ACMC Foundation added, “At the end of the day, it means more local patients receive quality care locally. And, yes, that’s good for the economy and good for the community, but most importantly it is good for the patients.”

Kathy Lines, LPN, a nurse at the ACMC Oncology and Infusion Center, spoke about working with patients and families suffering from cancer, and added a personal note when she talked about her mother’s cancer treatment, as well as her own.

Lines said cancer was a part of her family’s history, and when her mother first needed treatment in 1976, there was no cancer treatment center available in Ashtabula County.

“It was hard on her to travel out of the county to receive treatment, and it was hard to watch what it did to her,” Lines said.

When Lines was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 the Cancer Center at ACMC was open, and she was able to stay close to home to receive treatment.

“It made all the difference in the world to be here and not travel. The caring and compassion of the Caregivers was outstanding. It is a blessing to have this in the community,” she said.

Lines praised the work of Oncologist Mohammad Varghai, MD, who worked with ACMC officials to keep cancer care in Ashtabula County.

“Without ACMC and without Dr. Varghai, cancer patients would once again be forced to leave the county. They would suffer. But, the dedication of ACMC and Dr. Varghai made it possible to keep cancer care local. Our patients tell us every day how much it means that they can come here,” she said.

ACMC Foundation Board of Trustees Chairman Fred Leitert said the total cost of the renovation project is expected to be $275,000, which is the Foundation’s fundraising goal.

“Cancer touches so many in our families and communities. Donating to this effort is a wonderful way to honor those who have battled this disease,” he said.

The event raised almost $17,000.

Seven wineries, one distillery and eight restaurants took part in Tastings, serving up a smorgasbord of some of the best food and beverages in northeast Ohio.

“We are grateful to the generous donations of our local vendors. Our event is more than just a chance to eat and drink some of the best items our region has to offer. It a showcase of what can happen when people in our community work together to support a worthy cause and support each other,” Netkowicz said.

Guests were also pleased with the inclusion of 11 local artists who displayed their creations, while also giving live demonstrations of how they create their art.

Artists on hand were Ralph Bacon, Bernie Baker, Judy Campbell, Anzietta DiPierro, Brant Gebhart, Nancy Hendrick, Linda Pasky, Julene Schwartz, Sandy Shelenberger, Jeremy Shank and Brad Stevenson.

Featured wineries were Harpersfield Vineyard, Ferrante Winery, Lakehouse Inn & Winery, M Cellars, Maple Ridge Vineyard, Markko Vineyards and Virant Winery.

Cleveland Whiskey provided a variety of distilled bourbon beverages to sample.

Local restaurants included Bascule Bridge Grille, Briquette’s Smokehouse, Casa Capelli, Crosswinds Grille, Martinis!, Pairings – Ohio’s Wine & Culinary Experience, Saffron Patch, and Rennick’s Meat Market.

For more information on donating to the ACMC Foundation Cancer Campaign, call Executive Director Tami Netkowicz at 440-997-6605.

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