The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

June 18, 2013

Dinner to benefit local cancer patient

Staff Writer

ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — Some aggressive rounds of chemotherapy are part of Ashtabula Township native Gary Povlis’ treatment during this second bout of cancer he is enduring. His friends and family are hoping he will turn the corner on his cancer, and an event planned Sunday could help.

A benefit to help pay for Povlis’ medical and travel expenses for his cancer treatment will be held 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday at Edgewood Diner, 3010 State Road. Tickets for a ham dinner and all the fixings are $15 per person and can be bought at the diner. There also will be a Chinese Auction and 50/50 raffle. All of the money will go to Povlis.

“We wanted to help Gary beat this cancer for good,” Franny Martone, owner of the diner, said. “All of his friends wanted to do something, so we decided to have this benefit and every single dime will go to Gary (Povlis).”

Povlis, 57, said his many friends help him stay positive.

“You have to remain positive when you have cancer; that’s half the battle,” he said, noting his friends printed up “Team Gary” T-shirts.

About two years ago, when Povlis had his gallbladder removed, he was diagnosed with gallbladder cancer. He completed all of his chemotherapy treatments and hoped that was the end of it.

“Then in April, I started having terrible pain in my back,” he said. “The doctors found a mass between his organs — the liver, pancreas ... and they can’t operate.”

Instead, the doctors are giving Povlis chemotherapy treatments to shrink the tumor. Once it’s small enough to operate, they will remove it. Povlis started his third round of chemotherapy Monday morning at the Cleveland Clinic in Willoughby Hills.

Povlis, a former auto parts store employee, went on disability after his first battle with cancer, and then tried to keep up COBRA insurance.

“But it was too expensive,” he said. “I have no insurance now.”

Povlis lives with his 89-year-old father, Steve Povlis, and cares for him. They are frequent diners at the Edgewood Diner.

In fact, that’s where Gary Povlis met his fiancee, Pat Quinn of Kingsville. The two got engaged just a couple of weeks ago. She hopes to show off her engagement ring at the benefit Sunday. It’s at the jeweler’s getting sized, she said.

Martone said Povlis is a special guy with a lot to live for and he encourages everyone to come out for a great meal and a greater cause.

Anyone who can’t attend Sunday’s benefit can give at Huntington Bank in Ashtabula, where a special fund has been set up in Povlis’ name.