Ball of Hope Victim of the Economy

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A fundraiser in our area that supports cancer patients has been canceled.

The American Cancer Society's Ball of Hope held in Scranton each fall is no more. Officials blamed a lack of donations.

Officials from the American Cancer Society decided to cancel this year's upcoming Ball of Hope because over the last five years its costs have gone up, and donations have steadily declined.

The Ball of Hope has been held at the Scranton Cultural Center for the last five years and over that time has raised about $500,000 for the American Cancer Society.

The officials with the American Cancer Society decided to cancel the annual gala, saying the fundraiser is yet another victim of the bad economy. While costs to run the Ball of Hope go up every year, the donations and attendance decline.

The event was one of only two of its kind in the country, and while the Ball of Hope supported the American Cancer Society nationally, it was supported and run by folks in our area.

WNEP was a sponsor each year.

Greg Gagorik of Toyota Scion in Scranton was a Ball of Hope ambassador. He supported the decision to cancel the event, saying the ball did not have enough support in the community.

"But I think they wanted to take it in a different direction. I think the American Cancer Society wanted to take a hard look, reassess what it is they do and go in a different direction in the future," Gagorik said.

He added he and other local supporters of the American Cancer Society may start working on a similar fundraiser in the future, an event that makes more money for the American Cancer Society and makes more of an impact in the community.

"We only had 300 to 400 people come each year. I think in the future maybe we can grow to 1,000 or 1,500. Maybe we can move to a larger venue that can accommodate more. I think cancer touches us all," Gargorik added.

While the Ball of Hope supported the American Cancer Society nationally, a lot of the money went to Camp Can-Do in the Lebanon Valley area, a camp for children with cancer. American Cancer Society officials said Camp Can-Do will not be impacted too much by the cancellation of the Ball of Hope.