Just a few weeks before her sixth-annual fund raiser, Tara Ryan Byrne said she cannot help but feel overwhelmed at the direction her life has taken.
After her cancer diagnosis in 2001, while she was five months pregnant with her son Senan, Ryan Bryne never believed they would have survived, thrived and raised more than $110,000 for The Jimmy Fund.
"I don't even think I saw beyond my diagnosis at that stage," she said. "It's remarkable what a few people can do."
Mother and son will host the 10 Free Kick Cancer Celebration on Feb. 23, bringing another night of music, food, prizes and fun while raising money for The Jimmy Fund. The event is called "10 Free'' because Ryan Byrne has been cancer free for 10 years.
"It's amazing how generous the community is," Ryan Bryne said. "When the community comes together for a common goal, you can do good. Haverhill is on the map for this."
Suzanne Fountain, director of the Jimmy Fund, said the organization has been impressed with the amount raised by Ryan Byrne's family.
"We are truly honored by Tara's dedication to raising funds for those battling cancer and their families," Fountain said. "The contributions from Tara's Kick Cancer event go directly to cancer patient care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through its Jimmy Fund. Her thoughtfulness for others fighting this disease is immeasurable."
This year's event, hosted at Archie's Little River Ale House in Lafayette Square, will offer a number of prizes, including a ski weekend, a Reebok treadmill and items donated by local businesses.
Alan Boisvert, owner of Keon's 105 Bistro, plans to offer a wine dinner for 10 as a grand prize.
"Cancer has touched us just like everyone," Boisvert said, noting both his mother and brother-in-law fought their own battles with the disease. "I don't think you could pick someone off the street that hasn't been affected by it."
Ryan Bryne has worked as a server at Keon's for more than six years.
Although looking forward to this year's event, Ryan Bryne said she's unsure if she'll be able to continue the event in future years, but wants to make this year one to remember.
"I would like to keep going," she said. "It's a very fulfilling event."
Sponsors for this year's event include: Pentucket Bank, Quinn's Locksmith, Merrimack Valley Hospital and Trinity EMS ambulance service.
More information and tickets are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOU GO
What: 10 Free Kick Cancer Celebration
Where: Archie's Little River Ale House, 27 Lafayette Square
When: Feb. 23, 6 p.m. to midnight