Last year, after his bladder and lymph nodes were removed, lifetime Barclay Heights resident Tony Amato was declared cancer-free. But it came back with a vengeance six months later, encroaching upon the 48-year-old’s liver and lungs. “Tony’s Army” — about 200 of Tony’s of friends, family and neighbors — are selling hot dogs and baked goods to patrons outside of Kylie’s Sweet Shop during the annual Sawyer Motors Car Show on Sunday, July 7 from 1-6 p.m. to raise funds for his ramping medical expenses.
“I have been friends with Tony since Little League — we have been through a lot of good and bad times over the [last] 40 years,” said Matthew Ross. “[Tony] would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it without a thought. [He] and his wife Sherri have either put on or been a party of numerous benefits over the years and he has touched the lives of a lot of people in the community,” Ross continued. “Now he needs yelp and there isn’t a thought in my head that I am there for him in whatever he or his family needs … I know he will kick cancer’s ass again because he has an army right next to him!”
The impromptu fundraiser was organized by Patricia Rauh, who is no stranger to fundraising efforts — in 2017, she spearheaded a fundraiser that raised $17,000 towards a handicapped-accessible van for Jeff Madelone, a Saugertiesian with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
In August 2017, a urologist found polyps in Amato’s bladder — after two unsuccessful surgeries to remove the masses, his entire bladder and his lymph nodes were taken out that September, followed by a bout of chemotherapy. In this round of treatment, Amato is undergoing a series of seven radiation sessions followed by a bout of immunotherapy.
“The bladder cancer came back and is now hitting and pressing against my spine,” said Amato. “With the bills all coming in and being out of work again, the worry is starting to set in.”
Amato, previously a respiratory therapist’s assistant, is best known in the community for his bass lines, and is currently affiliated with The Standard Assault and the Head Stomp Syndicate and working on other musical ventures.
The group will also host a 50/50 raffle and provide paid photo opportunities, including one beside a giant lollipop. Interested parties can visit the fundraiser or join the Tony’s Army group on Facebook.
“We just can’t thank everybody enough,” said Tony’s wife, Sherri.