Friends and family are rallying around Greg Harwood, a Jamestown native, who is currently battling stage four esophageal cancer.
A benefit will be held on Saturday from 3-9 p.m. at Chase Auction House in Russell, Pa., to help defray the medical cost associated with treating the condition. The event will feature auctions, door prizes, food, beverage, a bake sale and live music by Steel Rail, Derek Davis and the Tasty Groove, Jeff Fetterman Band, BandHanna and Day Old Soup. Admission is $5.
According to Richard Pierce, a close friend of Harwood's who is organizing the benefit, one of the reasons that the event has so many bands is because Harwood is an avid music fan.
"I've been a personal friend of Greg's for 50 years," said Pierce. "He is a veteran of the Great Blue Heron festival. He makes the trip every year and has a lot of friends there. He is a huge Harley Davidson fan, owner and rider. He is also devoted to his three dogs and three cats."
The event will also feature a tattoo artist, and several friends and family members will be getting a tattoo in honor of Harwood.
"Greg is a tattoo man, and there are nine of us so far who are going to get a tattoo dedicated to him," said Pierce.
Harwood is currently receiving treatment in Pittsburgh, which is causing him to incur travel expenses.
"We're hoping people come out to rally around him to offer love and support to this great man and his family in this time of need," said Pierce. "One of Greg's quotes that he has lived by as long as I've known him is, 'Live each and every day to the fullest, because you never know when (your) days are up.' Greg was an avid benefit-goer himself, and didn't even have to know the person to get behind a good cause."
Harwood was born in Jamestown to Ray and Phyllis Harwood, but was raised in Falconer where he graduated from Falconer High School in 1973. Harwood then got a job at Chautauqua Hardware where he worked until 1977 when he started at Mosher Mobile Milling.
Harwood's siblings include Mike Harwood, of North Syracuse, and Karen Myers, of Camillus, N.Y. He was married to Janice King in 1974. The couple had two daughters, Christina Hansen and Betsy Dentler, of Lottsville, Pa. Since 2002, Harwood has been married to Marlene Grimes. He is the grandfather of Christian, Colyn, Quinn, Madison, Cameron and Konner.
Harwood's daughter, Hansen, is a cancer survivor from 20 years ago. During her treatment Harwood took six months off of work to care for her. He did everything from administering medication, giving her shots and bathing her.
"That's the kind of caring and loving person he is," said Pierce. "He'd help anybody, family friends or complete strangers."
Hansen said she feels honored to have so many people helping plan the event and participating.
"Gratitude goes beyond expression," said Hansen. "I can't thank everybody enough for their hard work and generosity."