Riverview resident and breast cancer survivor Mary McCullagh, pictured with her husband, Jim, and daughters, Sarah Ball and Shannon Lennon, is being honored as a local hero through Bella Garden’s Second Annual Celebrate the Cure on Thursday, October 21.

The face of our heroes is ever-changing, with more and more everyday individuals making the ranks of the iconic superhero stardom: They are known as cancer survivors, having battled the biggest foe known to mankind, which is why Bella Garden’s Maria Malec and “The Bella G Girls,” her staff, are hosting the Second Annual Celebrate the Cure.
 “To continue to develop community relations, we have started an annual event to honor a local resident breast cancer fighter,” states Malec, having chosen Riverview resident and breast cancer fighter Mary McCullagh as the beneficiary of the upcoming event’s proceeds. Being held on Thursday, October 21, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., residents are invited to come out and support the endeavor alongside cancer survivors and 2009’s recipient, enjoying festivities such as music, raffles and a 50/50, with the first 50 attendees receiving goodie bags. Appetizers and refreshments will be catered by co-sponsor Formaggio’s Italian Restaurant.
“Our joint mission for this event is to once again ‘Celebrate the Cure,’” adds Malec. She mentions that those who may be going through cancer themselves or know someone who is are welcome to check out information and research displayed at the event regarding the holistic approach to cancer, one that McCullagh has decided to undergo.
With $800 having been raised through the efforts of some 50 attendees at last year’s event, The Bella G Girls are hoping for a bigger turnout both in proceeds and numbers in 2010.
Residents can attend at the cost of a $20 donation, receiving a “bling” event T-shirt. All monies will go to McCullagh to use as she sees fit. Last year’s designee turned her funds over to St. Stephen Catholic Church’s Project Cure, taking place later this month along Nature’s Way in Valrico beginning at 6 a.m. Friday, October 29, and running through Sunday, October 31.
“It is always our pleasure to sponsor events that benefit local residents and organizations. These are the same people we work, shop and worship with. What better way to direct our efforts,” concludes Malec.
For more information, residents can call 662-1300. Visit www.bellagardenonline.com to donate to the cause or to purchase tickets. Volunteers are needed for the event, held in the Publix FishHawk Shopping Plaza at 5664 FishHawk Crossing Blvd. in Lithia, as well as donated funds and giveaway baskets.

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Carisa is a Senior News Reporter and Assistant Editor at the Osprey Observer. When she's not at work, she continues to write, working on future projects; hangs out with friends and family, her best friend (aka her husband) and her four dogs.