Rusty’s Rockin’ BBQ & Boot Stomps for great cause

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Susie Faulk had a lot going on during the Rusty’s Boot Stomp Barbecue at the Santee/Lakeside Elks Lodge on Oct. 18. Put on by Cancer Angels of San Diego (CASD) and named in honor of Faulk’s husband, Rusty, the event was a fundraiser for Stage IV cancer patients, who, like him, came into financial hard times while fighting cancer.  She knows the struggles associated with cancer, and is determined to give back.

Susie Faulk had a lot going on during the Rusty’s Boot Stomp Barbecue at the Santee/Lakeside Elks Lodge on Oct. 18. Put on by Cancer Angels of San Diego (CASD) and named in honor of Faulk’s husband, Rusty, the event was a fundraiser for Stage IV cancer patients, who, like him, came into financial hard times while fighting cancer.  She knows the struggles associated with cancer, and is determined to give back.

CASD was there for the Faulk family when they needed help. The Boot Stomp was a way to make sure other families could get the same help.

“How can we fight in a positive way, instead of letting it [cancer] consume us? We’re trying to do something positive rather than being overwhelmed, facing your biggest fear,” Faulk said. “Cancer Angels was there to help us. It doesn’t take before you start to lose everything. My husband had a good job, we had a house, and were successful and happy in our life. Within months, everything was gone.”

It is the dance that many at the event understood—managing the disease while simultaneously trying to make the most of life. Live music, dancing, being festive on a Saturday afternoon within a tight community of patients, survivors and their families was a way to forget trouble for a while, raise money for the people in trouble. For many Stage IV cancer patients, trouble comes when faced with paying for treatment, or paying the mortgage or rent, medications, or groceries.

That is where Cancer Angels of San Diego (CASD) comes in. Founded in 2007 by Eve Beutler, the non-profit provides money to Stage IV cancer patients who meet such criteria. Insurance companies only cover so much. Factor in co-payments, deductibles, cost of medications and treatments, and the costs, when added up, become unmanageable. Forty-two percent of Stage IV cancer patients become homeless. Fifty-two percent of cancer patients stop treatment early because of the hardship.

“What most impresses me about Cancer Angels, is that they’re all volunteers. All money goes back to the patients,” Faulk said.

At times during the event, cancer patients played music alongside cancer survivors. Faulk’s husband took the stage with a patient who just learned he was in remission. Celebrating, remission, waiting on news, or hoping for a miracle, everyone inside the Elks Lodge was in it together. 

“Everyone here tries to help with everything they can,” Faulk said.

The event did not really slow, and never really stopped. The crowd had a tangible resolve to hit cancer, and its chaotic fallout, back with all the good works one community could muster up.

Faulk, who smiled and took care of the details and the people, shared stories of the Cancer Angeles recipients, and stories about their lives before cancer. She held back tears at times. Still, she kept moving as she talked about the families and patients with whom she sympathizes, and whom she is determined to help. “If they can do it, we can do it.” 

To learn more about Cancer Angels of San Diego, log onto www.CancerAngelsofSanDiego,org. 

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