It has been said that a friend in need is a friend indeed.
By that standard, Laurie Knoll is certainly a friend of Amy Koeninger because she is organizing a fundraiser for her friend, who has two types of breast cancer.
“I just know the (Koeninger family) are wonderful people and they’re going to come on to some hard times with the financial burdens, medical bills and all that,” Knoll, of Fults, said. “Amy’s been out of work for two months now. So I just thought, ‘why don’t we do a fundraiser?’”
Koeninger has invasive lobular carcinoma and invasive ductal carcinoma. The cancer has also spread to her lymph nodes.
She was diagnosed with cancer last fall.
The fundraiser will take place Dec. 21 from 7-11 p.m. at West Park Bowl in Columbia.
Knoll, who has been friends with Koeninger for about five years, explained that the whole Koeninger family likes to bowl, so this fundraiser seemed fitting.
Koeninger’s husband, Craig, is the head bowling coach at Gibault Catholic High School.
All lanes are reserved for the fundraiser, as 192 people have signed up to bowl at the event. Cost is $120 per lane to participate, with six people using each lane.
“It’s been overwhelming,” Knoll said of the response.
Koeninger has also found the interest in her fight touching.
“It was overwhelming,” she said while holding back tears. “It was neat to see that there were so many people who cared.”
“It’s crazy, really,” Koeninger, who is a paramedic in St. Charles County, added. “I didn’t realize I came into contact with that many people, but I guess in some way I do.”
Although the lanes are all full, people can still support Koeninger by coming to the event to socialize.
They will be able to purchase food and drinks from the bowling alley, which will have its full menu available.
While there, people can also purchase T-shirts bid on raffle baskets or buy 50/50 tickets to help raise more money.
Knoll said 110 people have bought shirts so far, resulting in $900 in profits that will go toward the Koeninger family. The shirts are from Spirit by Design, which is printing them at a discounted price.
The raffle baskets will cost $1 per ticket for smaller prizes that include items like home good baskets. Larger raffle items feature things like St. Louis Cardinals tickets and cost $10 per ticket.
Knoll got the items from individual donors and is still looking for a few more.
She said all the support she has gotten as she has prepared this event is a testament to two things.
“That speaks volumes to our local community and how amazing they are, and also to how wonderful the Koeninger family really is,” Knoll said.
Those who attend the event will also have a chance to interact with Koeninger because she plans to be there for at least part of the event, even though she started chemotherapy Monday.
Koeninger said she looks forward to mingling with the people who attend.
“I think it’s going to be nice to see them in person and thank them in person,” she said. “I know that they know how much I appreciate it, but to be there and physically show them how much I appreciate it is going to make me feel better.”
While Knoll has taken the lead on planing the event, she also credited Gibault and Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic School for helping to spread the word about it. The schools have also provided donations and prayers.
Two of Koeninger’s children attend those schools.
Although the bowling lanes are all reserved, Knoll encouraged people to attend in the spirit of Christmas.
“Christmas is about Christ and Christ is about giving and being there for others,” she said as she choked up. “Coming out and supporting a local family who is struggling, knowing it’s the holiday season, and giving your love and appreciation to other people would be a fun way to spend a Friday night before Christmas.”
For more information or to order a T-shirt in advance, contact Knoll at 248-798-5535 or firstname.lastname@example.org.