Organizers eye best turnout yet at JMCE’s Campfires for Cancer


If you’re looking for a unique way to usher in summer, the Johnston Memorial Cancer Events (JMCE) has just the event.

Campfires for Cancer is many things, but mainly it’s a one-day, family-oriented event hosted by the JMCE to help fight cancer that strikes children.

This year’s event falls on the first day of summer – Saturday, June 21 – and in keeping with tradition will be held inside Johnston War Memorial Park.

“Our purpose is to raise awareness of cancer in the community and to raise money to support the programs and services of the Hasbro Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology Department,” said Dennis Quaranta, the JMCE chairman who was recently elected to the Johnston High School Athletic Hall of Fame. “We’ve raised somewhere around $75,000 through the years.”

The JMCE was first formed in memory of the late Sal Gelsomino, Laura DeAngelis and Anna Mazzulla.

Just how does Campfires for Cancer work?

Groups, families and businesses go out and collect contributions prior to the event, which this year begins at 3 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m.

If you’ve got children, the JMCE’s Campfires for Cancer can help both the palate and pocketbook. Children get free kiddie rides, hot dogs, ice cream and pizza from 3 to 7.

The JMCE also holds other special fundraising events like its memorial golf tournament, and its partnerships with such events as the Johnston High School Girls’ Alumni Basketball Game, Salzillo Game Dinner and highly-successful Wine and Beer Tasting held in conjunction with the Johnston Community Center Association also boost its efforts.

To date, the JMCE coffers have $16,589. If additional revenue can be generated through the Campfires for Cancer Memorial Signs, the non-profit group will surpass its 2014 goal of raising $20,000.

“We raised $18,000 last year,” said Linda La Fazia. “We are working real, real hard to reach and hopefully surpass our goal.”

Given that, just what happens on Campfires day?

“It’s real simple,” Vin La Fazia said. “People pack their lawn chairs and head to the park, and also set up their own camp and cookout areas. And their children can participate in a number of free events like the rain ride, ice cream sundae making and other games.”

He also explained that “in the evening, we have our campfires. Providence has its WaterFire, Johnston has its campfires.”

At dusk, the campfires are lighted and burn in the JMCE-owned fire pits that are placed on the main stage inside the park. Vin La Fazia said the campfires will burn until 10 p.m.

This year’s Campfires for Cancer will also feature live music on the bandstand from 7 to 9.

“It’s entertainment and family fun all day into the evening,” said Quaranta, who along with his wife Pat and the entire JMCE committee is hoping for the largest turnout ever. “Please join us for a memorable event and join us in our efforts to help children who are battling cancer.”

People who’d like further information should call Dennis and Pat Quaranta at 934-1969 or Vin and Linda La Fazia at 523-2564.

Sponsors for this year’s Campfires for Cancer are D & D Tree Service, Okee’s Old Fashioned Rides, the Johnston Recreation Department, Graham Builders Inc., Johnston Little League, Gentry Moving, the Johnston Community Center Association, Johnston Adult & Youth Sports and Louis Press.

The committee includes the people listed above as well as Judi and David Graham, Joe and Karen Wells, Gelsomino family, DeAngelis family, Mike Mazzulla, Robin Christensen, Steve Placella, John Furia and John Graham.


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