Raising awareness, Thom Filicia style

Her friend Elaine Palmer, also of Skaneateles, remembered her aunt who died from cancer. Arlene VanRiper spoke of her aunt who succumbed to disease at the age of 44.

All agreed that they were happy to be able to help raise funds to find a cure.

The event, though planned and implemented to fight cancer, was an occasion for merriment as the guest of honor mingled with friends, family and everyone else.

"It is a real tribute to Thom that he can draw this kind of crowd for a fundraiser in a down economy," remarked Mary Kennedy of Skaneateles.

Kennedy's long-time friend Jeanella Baldwin, of DeWitt, said Filicia grew up with her children.

"He took my daughter to the Emmy Awards the year he won and he is simply the kind of fabulously successful hometown boy who will never forget where he came from," Baldwin said.

As part of the festivities, Dr. Robert Kiltz of CNY Healing Arts presented a check to Positively Pink Packages in the amount of $500.

"I am involved in this mission to help women create healing spaces that promote energy and wellness," Kiltz said, who was in attendance along with his mom, Maria, who is a breast cancer survivor.

During the event, co-sponsored by the Visual Arts Department of Syracuse University, Jeffrey Comanici told the group that he is also on the board for Race 4 The Cure, a cancer fundraiser that generated $800,000 in 2008.

"We are thrilled to call Thom Filicia our own. He graduated from S.U. and will be on campus tomorrow [Friday May 1] doing portfolio reviews for some of our design students," Comanici said.

Filicia finally took the microphone to the delight of the large crowd and joked about the "miracle of making it in, through and out" of Syracuse University.

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