On August 26, 2016, the Bennett family of East Hampton received devastating news when they learned their oldest daughter, Allison Duchemin, had been diagnosed with HER2 Positive Invasive Ductal Carcinoma breast cancer. As if that wasn’t heartbreaking enough, nearly four years prior, one of Allison’s sisters, Cheryl, was diagnosed with the exact same breast cancer.
Duchemin trekked to Sloan Kettering Cancer Center once a week over the past five months to receive chemotherapy treatment, and will continue to travel there every three weeks for the next year for Estrogen Therapy. In February of 2017, Duchemin underwent a double mastectomy with the start of reconstruction, which will be followed by five to six weeks of radiation five days a week in Commack. This intensive treatment will leave Duchemin, who works for the Town of East Hampton, unable to work. And, in a few months, Duchemin will undergo reconstruction surgery that will require a five night stay, and also result in a six week leave from work.
“One could only imagine the travel expenses and financial burden this has on a family; this has been a long road for Allison, her boyfriend Walter, and her three children (Sean, Riley, and Taylor) and it is not over yet,” shared Christina Arkinson, one of Allison’s sisters – who says Allison is “my best friend and my heart.”
On Friday, March 24th, family, friends and the community will have the chance to help ease some of those financial burdens by supporting Allison during Let’s Rally for Alli: Breast Cancer Benefit. The fundraiser will take place at the Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett from 7 to 10 p.m.
“Come join us at the Stephen Talkhouse to support Allison and her family,” said Arkinson. “Stop on by for a great night of live music from Little Head Thinks and The Dog Watchers, raffles, food and much more!”
Volunteers have amassed an impressive collection of auction prizes that include a companion package to the Hamptons International Film Festival; two tickets to GE Smith presents Portraits with the Bacon Brothers (and yes, Kevin Bacon is a band member) at Guild Hall on August 4th; a custom industrial knife and handmade sheath by TC Designs; a 5×7″ landscape painting by local artist Scott Hewett; cooking lessons with Hampton Foodie for six people; a Blackstone tailgater grill/griddle combo from Watermill Lumber; two wildlife canvases of wildlife taken by Allison’s son Sean Duchemin Jr.; a mini photo session with Diana Lee Photography; two photographs taken by local photographer Rick Bock; and more.
The raffle is packed with equally exciting options – like 31 bags packed with items such as wine or children’s toys; custom sterling silver earrings; t-shirts from Brandy Melville; a backpack purse; a basket from Blue Mercury filled with Moroccan products; a six piece place setting of beautiful dishes from Pier One; blue tooth headphones; a custom oar from Gray’s Lane; and more.
Are you one of those people that immediately start popping bubble wrap the second you come across it? Try your luck with the just as satisfying balloon pop. At least a dozen pink balloons will be up for sale for $25 each. After purchasing one, you get to pop it and find out if you won the grand prize – an item worth $100. Balloons will be filled with a prize worth no less than $25 – so it’s really a win, win.
“Anything our wonderful community could do to lighten the burden would be more than appreciated,” expressed Arkinson.
Admission to Let’s Rally for Alli: Breast Cancer Benefit is $20, and tickets will be available at the door.
Stephen Talkhouse is located at 161 Main Street in Amagansett. For more information, visit www.facebook.com.