DOWNEY – The 10th annual Sue Phillips Memorial Fundraiser was held Saturday evening, bringing together cancer survivors, loved ones, and a handful of local comedians.
The Sue Phillips Memorial Fundraiser has been hosted by the family of the event’s namesake since Phillips’s passing from breast cancer in 2002. All proceeds from the event go toward the AVON 39 Foundation and helps the Phillips’ team raise the funds needed in order to participate in the AVON 39 Walk to end Breast Cancer.
According to Malia Phillips, Sue’s daughter, her family has had at least one person participate in the walk since her mother’s death.
“My mom was diagnosed in 2001, and she fought breast cancer for 18 months,” said Phillips. “…AVON 39, they give money to hospitals to do research, to try to find new treatments and to find a cure. I think we have raised a lot of money – our group – and that just goes to help people with cancer and help research and find a cure.”
Saturday’s fundraiser event featured homemade Italian dinner, silent auction, and group of local comedians who donated their time and brand of entertainment.
One of those comedians was local stand-up rising star Vic Diaz, who has spearheaded the #supportlocalcomedy movement, designed to bring the comedy scene to Downey. Diaz produced the fundraiser’s comedy show, which included several comics of notable club and television prestige.
“...the object is to get people to realize that they don’t have to go to LA, or the OC, or elsewhere to enjoy a comedy show. They can come to Downey, which is right in the middle of everything really – not too far from LA, not too far from Orange County,” said Diaz.
The comedy show, called Comedy Fighting Cancer, was emceed by Charles Sanchez, a 20-year veteran of the industry, who recently lost his father-in-law to cancer.
“When you see it firsthand, you become more sympathetic and you understand what other people are going through as well,” said Sanchez.
Sanchez also commented that he is a true believer of the old saying that “laughter is the best medicine,” however also noted the importance of trying to understand the emotions of this particular audience.
“It’s hard sometimes to laugh because [you have] so much sorrow during the time that someone is dying from cancer, that you almost forget to laugh,” said Sanchez. “…you have to understand what they’ve gone through, or what they’re going through, so you’re a little more understanding.
"Every comic wants that big, huge ‘ahh laugh,’ but because of what they’re going through it’s difficult, so you have to be understanding.”