Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Party is more than a break in the battle

The hundreds who gather at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Friday for Ian Beckles' poolside Blue & White Party will find South Beach sophistication, first-class food, exotic drinks, stylish fashions, smooth music and even live mermaids.

For a select group of parents, the event will be more than a chance to revel in good times. The annual fundraiser for the Children's Cancer Center (www.childrenscancercenter.org) will provide a respite from the daily challenges these mothers and fathers of sick children endure.

Beckles, a former Buccaneer who co-hosts a popular morning talk show on WDAE-AM 620, provides a private cabana for about a dozen of the center's parents, most of whom have been so consumed by helping their children they haven't enjoyed a night out.

"It will mean everything to my wife and me," says Leo Astacio, whose 20-month-old son was diagnosed with neuroblastoma last year. "It'll be a chance to get away from the reality that our little man is going through probably the toughest battle he's going to have to face in his life.

"They do a wonderful job of entertaining not only us, but the entire Tampa community."

Astacio, who manages several professional athletes including Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano, had to rush home from Chicago in May of 2007 when baby Leo was just 10 weeks old. When doctors told him his son had tumors over his tiny midsection, a singular desire rushed into his heart.

"My first thought was, 'Why can't I get this and he not have it.' It's a helpless feeling," Astacio said. "It's a nasty disease, but it's inexplicable when it affects kids."

Two of the three tumors have been eradicated thanks to chemotherapy. Baby Leo has all his hair, a "mouthful of teeth" and runs so well few realize he's still battling cancer. While doctors provided the treatment, the Children's Cancer Center provided the support. It helps parents with financial, educational and emotional needs that go beyond the norm.

Astacio said the center proved particularly beneficial in counseling his two older daughters because so often siblings feel neglected when a brother or sister gets cancer.

"When your child is diagnosed with cancer, it's almost like a whole new world, and you need other people in that world," Astacio said.

Rob Rozmeski, whose 7-year-old son Zachary was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia last year, credits the center with emotionally rescuing his wife Tina by providing counseling from other mothers who faced similar challenges.

Rozmeski raves about the hospitality he received from Beckles and his radio co-host Ron Diaz at last year's gala.

"I expected just a little party, but it's unbelievable," Rozmeski said. "Plus, you're with people that understand what you're going through. A lot of people think they feel what you're feeling, but they can't know unless they're living it."

Rozmeski, who named his construction company after his son, said Zachary is doing great by the grace of God, but has two more years of treatment. He hopes Zachary will someday run the company, and he'll celebrate that dream Friday.

We should celebrate it with him. Go to www.theeblueandwhiteparty.com for tickets and information.

That's all I'm saying

Party is more than a break in the battle 10/31/08 [Last modified: Friday, October 31, 2008 10:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)

    World

    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.