Hops for Hope, the American Cancer Society’s annual fundraiser at the Budweiser brewery in B’ville, targets young professionals to raise awareness about cancer screenings and support the efforts of ACS. This year’s event takes place Nov. 2. (Submitted photo)
Now in its sixth year, the American Cancer Society’s Hops for Hope fundraiser continues to grow. The event, which raised $30,000 for ACS last year, returns to Anheuser-Busch Brewery Thursday, Nov. 2.
The event features a tour of the brewery, raffles, music and food from Bull and Bear Catering. In addition, Hops for Hope guests can enter raffles of several prizes, including Syracuse University basketball tickets, two round-trip tickets for a Delta Air Lines flight and more. The brewery tour will show guests how Budweiser beer is made, and they can sample the finished products.
“Last year was the first year we had the Mere Mortals — definitely a lot of fun,” Danielle LaTour, community development manager for the northeast division of ACS, said. “The Mere Mortals also have a following, which brought more people to us. It gets the party going and helps pump us up before our speakers. It helps make more of an intimate atmosphere and makes them part of the party.”
With its live entertainment, Budweiser beer tastings, raffles and more, Hops for Hope certainly is a party. But it is as much a memorial as it is a celebration. Former Syracuse University lacrosse player and ACS volunteer Jason Gebhardt brought the event to B’ville after attending a similar event in Rochester. Gebhardt lost his mother to cancer in 2009.
“When my mom was battling cancer, she stayed at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in New York City,” Gebhardt told the Messenger in 2014. “The Hope Lodge was there for us. We try to give back to ACS — they provided so much for our family.”
This year’s honorary chair and speaker, John Grabau, does his best to give back to ACS as well. Grabau, a senior account executive for Northland Communications and an avid golfer, was diagnosed with melanoma in 2004. After completing his treatment in 2005, Grabau founded the Grabau Melanoma/Skin Cancer Golf Tournament to benefit ACS.
Hops for Hope targets young professionals in Central New York, and not just because craft brewing is trending among the 25-to-45 set. LaTour said key cancer screenings take place within this age range.
“We always say that prevention is key, and detection is part of that. We want to get people when they’re younger and get them thinking about seeing their doctor for that annual visit for screening,” she said. “They still have time to take action.”
Hops for Hope — which in other cities has featured a race or other activities — reaches people who may not necessarily join Relay for Life, the local fundraiser for which ACS is best known.
“Every year it has a unique feel because we get new people in the door every year, which is awesome,” LaTour said.
Ashley M. Casey is a reporter for The Baldwinsville Messenger and The Eagle Star-Review. She graduated from Le Moyne College in 2012 and previously worked for the Scotsman Press.