A broken heart is sometimes the motivating factor in making a difference. An angry heart can be the catalyst to making changes and leaving your stamp on life. I have had both, a sad and an angry heart. My mom died from a Glioblastoma Multiforme. I was sad to lose such a wonderful person and one of the centers of my being. Then I got angry. Really angry. How dare this “thing” take the life of a good person? One who gave with all she had, lived each day to the fullest and had a smile that warmed everyone’s heart.

I had attended the Chris Elliott Fund’s (CEF) annual dinner and gala long before I truly understood this disease, www.ChrisElliottFund.org.  I, along with many Sammamish neighbors attended in support of Dellann and her children. Little did I know that one day I would need that support inturn. When my mom was diagnosed I called Dellann. She is such a calming person and took action immediately in a way I can appreciate to this day. We were put in contact with doctors and had her case reviewed by some of the top doctors in the country. Dellann was there for us until the end, which was just 8 short weeks later, although, she remains there for us each and every day. Since then I have been aware of 4 GBM cases just in my little town of Lake Mary, Florida.

Being so far away from the CEF offices, I felt there had to be something I could do on my own. Something that could help make a difference. I started a neighborhood Chili Cook-Off. I planned the event and carried it out by myself, with volunteer chili cooks. Over the past 4 years we have raised almost $8,000 in one afternoon with very little time and preparation.

My goal is to have at least one Chili Cook-Off in every state over the next 3 years. I need your help! I promise this is a fun event and so worth while. Once you put this out there, you may even be amazed at the amount of people who have been affected by this disease. Here are the steps and I will say it again, it is SO EASY!

  • Find a location (local park, church, clubhouse, school, etc.)
  • Set a date (preferably in October or November)
  • Put out an “ALL CALL” for chili cooks. You will want at least 10 but no more than 20.
  • The chili cooks pay a $15 entry fee, this goes towards the prizes
  • Use Facebook, Google+, any social media to get the word out.
  • Contact neighborhood HOA’s for an email blast and call on your friends to help publicize the event.
  • You will need tables and have plug ins for plate warmers or crock pot’s
  • I buy 200 small cups and spoons for tasting.
  • Solicit silent auction items and wine for a wine basket raffle.


I have my chili cook-off at the Magnolia Plantation Golf Club in Lake Mary, FL. They give us the spot for free, provide banquet tables and offer membership and golf gift certificates for our silent auction. You may find many venues that will support this cause and do the same. An example of a different type of Chili Fundraiser is the one my niece does. She sets up 5 or 6 different chili pots at a local pumpkin patch and spends the Saturday before Halloween there. Tasting is $5 and they can try all of the chilis. She raises about $750 in a few hours of time. Every small amount helps and adds up quickly.

I have all of the templates for silent auction items, chili cook sign up sheet, wine raffle sign, basically, everything you will need to print out. Please let me know if you can commit to one afternoon in the fall to help make a difference. Let’s get this to a national level!! I will be there for you all of the way, just raise your hand.  Cindy Rogalski can be reached at [email protected] or at 480-784-7872.  THANK YOU FOR BENG PART OF THE CURE!