Bay Village resident organizes cancer benefit in honor of wife
Bay Village resident Greg Gogul was married only 10 months to his 28-year-old wife when they discovered she had stage 3 ovarian cancer. The next few months were filled with doctor appointments, chemotherapy and many hospital visits. After a seven-month struggle, Jess Boskocevic Gogul died.
Within weeks of her death Gogul decided to do something in her honor and Sept. 17’s inaugural Run for Jess/girlpARTs fest in Cahoon Memorial Park in Bay Village is it. "Neither my wife nor myself knew anything about this silent killer. The idea behind this run and arts festival is to create awareness of the disease which has subtle symptoms that many women need to know about. If I can save one life from ovarian cancer it will all be worth it."
The 5K Run for Jess begins at 11 a.m. in Cahoon Memorial Park West, followed by a music and arts fest from noon to 7 p.m. Race registration is $20.
The day-long event uses arts to raise awareness of gynecologic cancers and features three bands, visual artists, food trucks, children’s activities and more. The festival is suitable for all ages; general admission is $20 ($25 at the door). Tickets for children ages 5 to 12 are $10; children under 5 admitted free. VIP tickets are $50 and include a VIP pass to mingle with the bands, private catering and the best seat in the house!
Tickets are available online at normaleah.org.
Local bands performing include The Ice Cream Truckers, Carlos Jones and the Plus Band, Natural Wonder (Stevie Wonder tribute band) and a possible appearance by Caly Bevier – a teen ovarian cancer survivor who is a finalist in the "America’s Got Talent" competition.
Various food trucks will be on hand as well as local artists showcasing and selling their unique creations. Jennifer Coken, a native of Cleveland Heights will host a book signing for her recently released book about her mother’s battle with ovarian cancer, “When I Die, Take My Panties.” There will also be a survivor recognition ceremony for all cancer survivors.
Gogul and his sister-in-law, Melissa Boskocevic, connected with the NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative, which was founded by a Youngstown native, to present the event. Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecologic cancer because the symptoms are vague and there is no reliable screening test.