Photos courtesy of Chemo Comfort
Astoria bars will donate a portion of cocktail proceeds to a nonprofit that helps cancer patients going through chemotherapy.

As a two-time breast cancer survivor, Anne Marie Paolucci knows how grueling it can be to go through chemotherapy.

In 2005, she started Chemo Comfort, a nonprofit that provides cancer patients with a “chemo starter kit” to help with symptoms of nausea, hair loss and oral care issues. Each patient receives 16 items such as a toothbrush, lozenges, tea and ginger products, a satin pillowcase and a book titled “Living with Cancer.”

 

“It’s really about giving people things to help themselves because you get a lot of information dumped on you,” Paolucci said. “Our thought is rather than overwhelming patients we like to empower patients.”

From Oct. 7 through Oct. 16, the organization will hold an event called Cocktails for Comfort, where 22 bars across the city will create signature drinks and donate either some or all of the proceeds to her organization. This is the fourth time Paolucci has held this event to coordinate with Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Two bars in Astoria, The Astor Room and Snowdonia, will participate in the event.

The Astor Room, located at 35-11 35th Ave., will serve “The Mary Pickford,” Cruzan Aged Dry Rum, fresh pineapple, house made grenadine and maraschino liqueur, for $12. A virgin version can also be ordered without the rum.

Snowdonia, located at 34-55 32nd St., will extend their participation to the entire month of October. The gastropub’s cocktail will consist of  vanilla ice cream blended with creme de noyaux and creme de cacao and garnished with a cherry.

The drink will cost $12 and the non-alcoholic version is $7. According to bar manager Matt Davis, the drink is based on a cocktail called the “Pink Squirrel.” Snowdonia will donate 50 percent of the proceeds to Chemo Comfort.

This will be The Astor Room’s fourth time participating and Snowdonia’s second time.

Paolucci’s mother also had breast cancer and said her mother’s advice to “find something beautiful in every day” helped her fight through the pain and difficult days.

“I was not the poster child for going through chemotherapy,” Paolucci said. “I really didn’t do well at all [but] my feeling was, you take it one day at a time, sometimes just one minute at a time.”

Chemo Comfort partners with 10 organizations to get the kits to low-income cancer patients. Family and friends who want to gift the kits pay exactly what it costs to make it – $65 plus an additional $15 for shipping and handling, and those going through treatment who want to purchase a kit for themselves can buy it at a reduced price.

For the first time this year, Cocktails for Comfort will also include a selfie bar crawl contest. To enter, participants can take a selfie holding the “Cocktail for Comfort” at participating venues.

Tag Chemo Comfort and post the photo on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #C4CBarCrawl. The photo must include you, the event cocktail and something to identify the bar.

Participants must be following Chemo Comfort on social media and the winner will win a $50 Amazon gift card.

Chemo for Comfort is completely volunteer based and Paolucci said the organization would not be possible without them. Male and female kits are made in Manhattan and are for people dealing with a variety of cancers.

“Even though this is my history with breast cancer and the event is targeted to October, kits are for anyone going through chemo therapy,” Paolucci said. “You feel a loss of control when you go through treatment. The kits make them feel that someone understands what they’re going through.”

To find out more about Chemo Comfort and for a list of participating bars, visit the Chemo Comfort website.

 

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