January 22, 2004 - Somerville Journal: Lesotho RPCV Steven Saltman organizes Rabbie Burns dinner and benefit for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Lesotho: Peace Corps Lesotho : The Peace Corps in Lesotho: January 22, 2004 - Somerville Journal: Lesotho RPCV Steven Saltman organizes Rabbie Burns dinner and benefit for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-35-236.balt.east.verizon.net - on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 7:57 pm: Edit Post

Lesotho RPCV Steven Saltman organizes Rabbie Burns dinner and benefit for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Lesotho RPCV Steven Saltman organizes Rabbie Burns dinner and benefit for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Men wearing kilts for a cause

By Auditi Guha / Journal Staff
Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Caption: Cancer survivors Walter Pero, Steven Saltman with Robbie Burns. The trio will join others Jan. 31 for food, song and a few jokes to raise money for research. - PHOTO BY MICHAEL MANNING

Burns dinner raises money for cancer research

"An effernuin o' guid food, strong spirits, dirty ditties and tasty tartans" is promised with the birthday of Robert Burns, the great bard of Scotland, also honoring Somerville alderman and cancer survivor Walter Pero.

The 2004 Rabbie Burns dinner and benefit for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is scheduled Saturday, Jan. 31 from 4 p.m. at The Burren in Davis Square. A Scottish event full of haggis, Scotch and men in kilts will provide a perfect opportunity for Somervillians to eat, drink, make merry and raise funds for cancer.

The event is organized by Steven Saltman, Mary Catherine Ward and friends, and boasts local comedian Jimmy Tingle as a special guest for the evening.

"I didn't know much about the event," Tingle said. "But its really the spirit - when I heard where the money was going, I wanted to participate.

Tingle was inspired to help because he has a 23-year-old technician on his staff with cancer.

"It's an interesting event - some Scottish culture and haggis right here in Somerville!" said Pero who recently donned a kilt to promote the evening. While wearing a skirt for men was a new experience and not uncomfortable at all, Pero doubts he can wear it at a big community event. "But I am going to bring a golf club and give a speech," he laughed.

Saltman donned one too. "I've never worn a kilt before and I have no Scottish or Irish in me at all. My wife is Irish and the one I rented is actually an Irish design, so there's a limited connection." He might sport a kilt at the dinner too.

"It's a funny thing to wear. But not so odd," he said. "I was in the Peace Corps in Lesotho and they wear blankets. I traveled in the South Pacific a bit and the Fijians wear something called a sulu which is a similar thing, though I looked fairly silly when I put one on."

Both Saltman and Pero are cancer survivors who have since become involved in aiding cancer patients and research. Pero was diagnosed with a form of leukemia in January 2002. He was very ill as he went in for six months of treatment at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Dana-Faber Institute. "It was mostly chemotherapy and I was very sick," he said. "I lost 45 pounds and lost my hair twice."

Things started getting better after June 2002 and he feels good about himself. A marathon runner and cancer survivor, he was chosen to be an honoree for the Boston Marathon this year by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's "Team in Training" group that takes average athletes and trains them for an endurance event. Saltman is one of them, training to participate in the Boston Marathon.

"For me it's a natural fit," said Pero. "After all that's been done for me, to give something back to society is easy."

Saltman was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in 1996. "I had just gotten married and it was quite a shock to be faced with imminent mortality, especially with a new wife and the hopes of starting a family and settling down. Luckily my wife, Mary Catherine, is part saint and provided the support I needed to get through treatment," he said.

He attacked his disease and had lots of positive experiences doing so in Boston which, he said, is a "great place to get cancer." He had six months of chemotherapy and one month of radiation at Mt. Auburns and joined cancer survivor community groups.

"We often signed our e-mails with our disease and diagnosis date, just like a college degree: Steven Saltman HD '96," he said.

About two months into treatment his sense of humor took over and he started a Web site and began selling "***f recnac" mugs on the Internet (spell it backwards).

"I think that may have been one of the earliest e-commerce transactions," he said. "My site was hosted on AOL at that time."

He sold a mug on that first day in 1996. Then he started a cancer diary online at www.Humorosis.com and still sell mugs at www.cafepress.com/humorosis, donating about half the proceeds to Planet Cancer.

Saltman's neighbors and friends, Alan and Laura Stockdale, were the first to host a Burns Dinner years ago - something like a Scottish Thanksgiving, a national event there. Unsure if they could have it at their house this year as it has gotten really big, Saltman adopted the Burns Dinner as a fund-raiser.

This year's event will open at 4 p.m. with cocktails at the cash bar, a silent auction with items like gift baskets, hair salon gift certificates and tickets, while Highland dancers will teach you how to jig country-style.

At 5:30 p.m., the bard and the honorees will be introduced, Scotsman and Somervillian Alan Stockdale will present haggis before the dinner begins. Rabbie Burns songs and poems will be performed, with Tingle playing master of ceremonies.

Kilts, tartans and plaids are encouraged. The donation is $50 per guest. Checks are payable to Rabbie Burns Dinner. Guest names and donations must be complete by Jan. 25 and can be sent to Saltman, 65 Lowden Ave., #2, Somerville, MA 02144 or by PayPal and e-mail to Stevesrun@LandAndFarm.com.

Pero urges residents to attend or to give to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at their Web site www.leukemia-lymphoma.org.

"I am very blessed," he said. "I have a grandchild on the way I am sure I wouldn't see if it wasn't for the good work of these people."

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Story Source: Somerville Journal

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Lesotho; Cancer



By rethabile chabana ( on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 - 12:23 am: Edit Post

please help little Tieho Mosotho.

4 YEAR OLD Tieho Mosotho is suffering from a rare type of cancer called fidrosarcoma. I host a radio breakfast show in lesotho and i would like your help in getting help for little Tieho Mosotho. Her story has touched me and through the radio show we have managed to raise some funds for her and her family.

please help

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