ALBANY -- Three years ago, Allison Salter, at the age of 32, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I was going through treatment," Salter said. "It wasn't real easy for people to help me. I'm pretty independent. But seven of my friends just insisted on helping me any way they could."
What they came up with was a unique fundraiser to help Salter meet her medical expenses -- a benefit concert and auction they called Cancer Ties.
"I was completely surprised by the event," she said.
The group realized that nearly everyone has a "tie" in some way to cancer, whether the person is a victim of the illness or has a family member, friend or co-worker who is dealing with the disease.
To give the event some quirky character, everyone who attends wears a tie, the more outlandish the better.
"I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of people that attended the event and local businesses that donated to it," Salter said. "The emotional support meant much more to me than the financial support. Everyone wore crazy, wacky ties symbolizing their 'tie' to cancer. People wore them around their necks, their waist, in their ponytail ... It was such a fun theme and we all 'tied' one on for a good cause."
Salter's treatment was successful, as was the fundraiser. Though it was planned as a one-time event, the committee, which now included Salter as co-chair, decided to make it an annual event aimed at helping someone who was battling cancer.
"It's a pay-forward thing," Salter said.
Cancer Ties on Thursday will benefit Jamie Taylor, 33, of Leesburg, who's being treated for colon cancer. The event opens at 6 p.m. at Doublegate Country Club and ends at 11 p.m. An auction and silent auction go from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Plus there's entertainment by three musical groups -- Queen Kong, Dallas Davidson and Jodi Mann -- and a cash bar will be available.
Tickets to the event are $20 each.
Salter said the auctions will feature more than 150 items, including an "incredible" tailgating package.
Organizers are expecting 500 people to attend.
EVENT: A benefit for cancer patient Jamie Taylor of Leesburg
WHAT: Entertainment by Queen Kong, Dallas Davidson and Jodi Mann; silent and live auction
WHEN: 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Doublegate Country Club, Albany
ADMISSION: $20 per person
CONTACT: (229) 886-5881