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Joshua Thomas
Trinity Gyurik and Jenna Wilson give peace signs as they bid on raffle items.

Joshua Thomas
Kristin Sanders bids on a basket of candy and sweets.

Joshua Thomas
Lee Ann Cummings and Susan Hayes share a hug as they sell baked goods Saturday.

Joshua Thomas
Lee Ann Cummings and Susan Hayes sell baked goods Saturday.


A Sweet show of support

Thursday, January 23, 2014 - Updated: 7:18 AM


C-S-E Editor

ST. JOHNSVILLE -- On Saturday, the St. Johnsville Community House was flooded with friends, family and supporters of Bonnie Sweet, a St. Johnsville resident diagnosed with the rare condition Malignant Neoplasms, for an impressive dinner benefit that was planned in only three quick weeks.

Bonnie's first born niece Penny Wilson said that about three weeks ago, she was conversing at the kitchen table with Sweet, who expressed that she was unsure about her future, worried she wouldn't be able to afford the expensive co-pays and transportation for medical treatment.

Wilson called Sweet's niece by marriage, Jessica Sanders, and said "you need to help me," and without hesitation, Jessica came to her aid to organize a group of women including Jolene Hayes, Kathy Sanders, Lisa Thompson, Cindy Darling, and Leann Cummins, who solicited businesses, earning 18 gift certificates to raffle off, a ton of pellets (donated by Kevin Blair), also accumulating donations and money to purchase items for about 3/4 of the 75 gift baskets raffled off Saturday. About a dozen other baskets were donated by caring community members, friends and family.

Wilson, Sanders and another of Penny's sisters wrapped all the baskets, completing about 45 within one week.

About 30 people also made dessert items for a baked goods sale and auction, which was a huge success, the first tray of cookies alone bringing in about $40.

About five people helped Wilson prepare enough ziti for a few hundred people on Saturday morning starting at 8 a.m., with Freihofer's donating rolls, and the St. Johnsville Fire Dept. donating hamburger for meat sauce.

Mayor Bernard Barnes donated the use of the St. Johnsville Community House.

Wilson said that Sweet "is usually the one pushing for benefits," helping to bring in money for others, including five months worth of daily work gathering raffle items for a sick ten-year-old she had never met.

Now, in the reverse position, Sweet said, "I feel very blessed with family and friends."

Wilson stated of Sweet, "She said she knew her family loved her, but she never knew how much until today."

That show of love and support, said Sweet, put her in a good mind-frame for her then-upcoming radiation treatments, which started this week. Currently, Sweet must travel back and forth from Syracuse for medical treatments, but the possibility exists that she'll have to also travel to and from Boston in the future.

Wilson stated Saturday, "I'm very grateful to anybody that contributed in even the littlest way. There was so many amazing people involved." 

The people of St. Johnsville, she said, were the reason she moved back to the community where she was raised after temporarily moving away to operate a farm in Fort Plain.

Wilson noted of the extremely responsive community, "People here are familiar with benefits and they really respond to it."

"For a small community, it's amazing," Sweet agreed, adding that because of the kind hearts in the community, her family has grown. "We adopt a lot of family members," Sanders explained.

"I love my family," concluded an appreciative Sweet.

Joshua Thomas - Bonnie Sweet (right) with her sister-in-law Jolene Peterson.

Joshua Thomas - Bonnie Sweet (center) with nieces Penny Wilson and Jessica Sanders.

Joshua Thomas - Enough raffle items were accumulated in just three weeks to make 75 baskets.

Joshua Thomas - Hundreds of people attended Bonnie Sweet's benefit Saturday at the St. Johnsville Community House.

Joshua Thomas - Hundreds of people attended Bonnie Sweet's benefit Saturday at the St. Johnsville Community House.

Joshua Thomas - Hundreds of people attended Bonnie Sweet's benefit Saturday at the St. Johnsville Community House.


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