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Neighbors raise funds to aid woman fighting cancer

Deborah Robinsgives her dog Sam kiss during cancer fundraiser block party for RobinsSouth ElgSunday. August 12 2012. | John Konstantaras~For

Deborah Robinson gives her dog Sam a kiss during a cancer fundraiser block party for Robinson in South Elgin Sunday. August 12, 2012. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 20, 2012 10:01AM

Color posters of Deborah Robinson, beaming and holding her dachshund, marked the way for a block party held on Mayfair Lane in South Elgin last Sunday. The event, hosted by neighbors, raised more than $3,000 for Robinson’s bills as she battles cancer.

“Deborah is the nicest neighbor, always talks to everyone, would do anything to help any one,” said Ryan Fitzgerald, a neighbor who years ago installed Robinson’s outdoor pool and last month helped garner raffle prizes for the block party.

More than 100 guests donated $20 for each adult and $10 for each child. The proceeds will help defray medical bills. Robinson said that though her chemotherapy doesn’t make her nauseous, the fatigue is so disabling that she’s not able to work currently. Also, her immune system is compromised, so she’s advised not to leave her home during the rounds of chemo.

“A neighbor came to my door with a plate of something she baked,” Robinson said. “And she told me she recognized my picture on the posters, and she said she always thought I had the world by its tail the way I sit outside enjoying (summer).

Jim Wieszchowski, another neighbor, owns Felicia’s Meat Market & Deli with his wife Sue. Providing baked chicken, pasta, bread and Italian beef from the Elk Grove Village shop, the couple donated all the food for the party and collected donations for one week in the store as well. Robinson said the two really spearheaded the fundraiser and Fitzgerald “pounded the pavement” getting donations to raffle.

Wieszchowski said that initially, he placed a collection jar near the cash register, but it only brought in $80. So his son John, 25, asked customers to consider making a contribution as they checked out.

“With that, we brought in more than $1,100 for her,” said Wieszchowski. “Some people bought a $5 sandwich and then they would donated $20 on top of that to help out.”

The party — which offered a dunk tank, karaoke and DJ, limbo contest, basketball, visits with local fire department personnel, and all-you-can-eat buffet — gave Robinson a chance to reconnect with Angela Shim of Glenview, a friend whom she hadn’t seen in years. Shim, her husband Steve and their three daughters said they were happy to support the cause.

Neighbors Nancy Ball and Karen Karom attended the event, explaining they often saw Deborah sunning in her corner lot pool while Ball and Karom took their regular walks.

“We recognized Deborah from the picture of her on the poster,” Ball said. “You just never know what (struggle) each person is carrying.”

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