More than $ 2,500 was raised to help a local woman battling cancer with the cost of her medical care through a benefit concert held Sunday in Bourbon Cowboy.
The Ashley Rodak Benefit Concert was held for Emporian Ashley Rodak, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2018 when she was 18. She was in remission, but doctors found active cancer cells during tests in February 2021. She had a bone marrow transplant in June. 4 and has had a tough recovery so far.
The event featured a performance by Brickhorse and event organizer Angela Perry, as well as a 50/50 raffle and silent auction.
Perry, who was Rodak’s high school volleyball coach, said her former student meant a lot to her.
“Ashley is one of the most inspiring and fantastic people I have ever known and her classmates who have helped her are truly remarkable,” said Perry. “I have been incredibly blessed and honored to have been a part of their journey as a former teacher. I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to work alongside my former students, which in itself is an inspiration to me.
She said a lot of work had gone into preparing for the event, but she had received a lot of help to organize it.
“There was a ton of preparation for this,” Perry said. “We had to rearrange the place. Suzanne [Brinkman] at Bourbon Cowboy was great helping us with that and then I talked to Jacob Stice who is the drummer for Brickhorse, I told him.
Brinkman said she was happy to open the bar to support the Rodak family.
“We like to open our room to any groups that need a home to raise money or raise awareness or something like that,” Brinkman said.
Perry was happy with the turnout Sunday afternoon.
“The donations have been wonderful, they have been fantastic,” said Perry. “The community has supported so much [Ashley] and it was a great experience for everyone.
Ashley’s mother Sandy Rodak said the treatment had been difficult for her daughter. Ashley Rodak was diagnosed with graft-versus-host disease on July 7, just over a month after her transplant.
“They were very hard on her,” she said. “She’s been through a lot, she’s been through the nine lives and some. I don’t know how, but she’s keeping her spirits up.
The support the community has shown for the Rodak family has been exceptional.
“Our family couldn’t be more grateful,” said Rodak. “The support of the community and understanding the very high cost of all of this, she is going to be in debt for the rest of her life, but the immediate bills have to be paid and that will help make that happen.”
So far, around $ 2,500 has been raised with more donations, Perry said. There are still other ways to donate to help the family.
“… We launched the Ashley Rodak Foundation at Emporia State Federal Credit Union and have received direct donations in this area [account], “she said.” The song ‘Sunflower Child’ which is dedicated to Ashley has been officially released [Sunday] thus, so all proceeds from the song will go to her and the foundation. “
Members of the community can follow Rodak’s story on the Ashley Army page on Facebook.