PEASLEEVILLE - When Jennifer Ano-Ryba's brother, Au Sable Forks native Roy Ano, was diagnosed with acute myloid leukemia, it was something that came completely out of left field.
"It was just such a shock," she recalled. "He just didn't feel good, so he went in for some blood tests and it wasn't until he pressure for more tests that they found it."
Doctors found the leukemia what Ano-Ryba described as an "aggressive growing leukemia" and immediately took action, she said.
"He was told he had it and within a few hours he was an in-patient at Fletcher Allen [HealthCare]," she said. "By noon the next day, he was on chemotherapy."
The 55-year-old Ano underwent seven days of treatments, some days being 24 hours a day, said Ano-Ryba. According to a bone marrow test, the treatments have apparently eradicated her brother's cancer, but have left his immune system virtually nonexistent while his body recovers.
"It looks like the cancer is gone, but now he's battling pneumonia and infections that have set in," said Ano-Ryba.
The next month will involve Ano staying in a sterile room at the Burlington hospital while he immune system rebuilds, said his sister. Having limited contact has been tough on him and the family, she said, but overall, Ano's demeanor has been good.
"He's trying to stay as upbeat as possible," said Ano-Ryba.
Ano-Ryba is organizing a benefit this Saturday, Feb. 12, at American Legion Post 504, 11 Mccrea St., Au Sable Forks. The event will run from 1 to 6 p.m. and consist largely of an $8 michigan meal with desserts. Take-outs will be available.
The benefit will include an auction beginning at 4 p.m. featuring several items donated by local businesses and individuals, including gift certificates, paintings by local artists and - one of the event's big-ticket items - a hunting tree stand from Gander Mountain.
The benefit will also include 50/50 drawings and entertainment.
Proceeds will help Ano and his wife, Laurie, with expenses incurred in relation to his treatments. The couple have three children - Cordell, Casey and Corey. Ano has been a counselor at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora for more than 20 years
Those interested in helping or placing take-out orders from the event may contact Ano-Ryba at 420-7985. Those unable to attend but who would still like to help may send donations in care of Ano to 15 Baxter St., Chazy N.Y. 12921.