For more than 20 years, Debbie Wilcox served Naugatuck as the borough’s dog warden until her retirement last July.
Now, Wilcox’s daughter, Kelly Mento-Wilcox, is reaching out to the Naugatuck community to help support the family’s fight against cancer.
A few months after her retirement, Mento-Wilcox said her mother, who’s 57 and a lifelong Naugatuck resident, was diagnosed with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer, which has spread to her brain.
The news came as a big shock to the family, said Mento-Wilcox, who added her mother was one who never got sick.
Although there’s nothing doctors can do for Wilcox, the family has rallied together to help bring the fight to cancer in order to help people stricken with the disease in the future.
Mento-Wilcox started a Relay for Life of Cheshire team at Drescher Insurance, where she works, in honor of her mother and to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
“Everybody here has known somebody who had cancer and we thought why not do this,” Mento-Wilcox said.
The 24-hour Relay for Life will be held June 10 to June 11 at Cheshire High School.
Mento-Wilcox said the team is seeking donations, corporate sponsors or anyone who simply wants to come out and walk with the team. All of the money raised, she said, will go to the Meriden Cancer Society to fund cancer research.
“Obviously, the overall goal for everybody is to get a cure for this,” said Mento-Wilcox, who added the more money they raise, the better the chances are for a breakthrough in research.
Mento-Wilcox said her mother will be walking as well during the Relay’s survivor lap.
“There’s not much more we can do for her,” Mento-Wilcox said. “She’s willing to come out and walk and support others for the future.”
Donations can either be dropped off to Mento-Wilcox’s sister Carrie at the Naugatuck Police Department or mailed to Drescher Insurance, 92 Main St., Cheshire, 06410 Attn: Kelly Mento.
For more information on Mento-Wilcox’s Relay team visit http://main.acsevents.org/goto/drescherinsurance or e-mail Mento-Wilcox at firstname.lastname@example.org.