Brian Toth, Rob Durand, Brian and Kevin Stackpoole, have had their fill of breast cancer.None of them have suffered from the disease directly but all of them have felt breast cancer’s ugly tentacles encroaching on their families. Brian Toth’s mother fought it, Rob Durand’s aunt fought it and Kevin and Brian Stackpoole lost their mother, Janine Stackpoole, to the disease in 2000.

So how exactly are they fighting back? The young men have formed a non-profit organization called Curves for the Cure. It’s a wiffle® ball tournament to raise money that will help fight what can be a devastating disease.

Over the past four years they have raised $14,000 for St. Joseph’s Mercy Cancer Care Center in Ann Arbor and they don’t plan on slowing down any this year. Mark Saturday, August 2 on the calendar. from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., the men are bringing the tournament from its former spot on Durand’s property in Holly to Frankenmuth. The event takes place on Dave and Carol Johnston’s property along the CassRiver on Curtis Road near the Dixie Highway. Teams are forming now. This particular tournament has room for 24 two-man or two-woman teams. They are also trying to form a senior’s division. Registration for the event is $100 for a two-person team and the money goes to feed participants lunch, dinner and beer. All of the rest of the money raised goes to support the cause. In past years, many of the teams camp out the night before the tournament and some are so tired afterwards they camp the night after the games. According to Toth it’s a really fun event and families are welcome to come out and support their favorite athletes.

Joe Toth, a Frankenmuth resident and father of organizer Brian Toth, raves about the event, “It’s a lot of fun. Last year Jim Durand and I played in the senior division and we doubled as the grill-meisters. I have to say it was a bit hard to move for a few days afterwards but it was great fun,” he said. To participate, players need to be at least 21 years old. Teams will have the opportunity to win great prizes from Bose and GanderMountain. There’s a 50/50 drawing, and lots of good food from Subway, Tim Horton’s and other sponsors. The Saginaw Spirits, the GreatLake Loons have also donated tickets for prizes. Trophies and awards are also given for the best, and the not so great “toilet bowl” winners. Everybody wins! The evening caps off with a pig roast.

The whole idea started after the group of friends participated in a wiffle ball tournament in Grand Rapids. They enjoyed the event so much they decided to form their own tournament closer to home. Instead of simply hosting a tournament, the idea of raising money for a cause took root. Because of the wonderful treatment the Stackpoole brother’s mother received in her battle with breast cancer at St. Joseph’s MercyHospital in Ann Arbor, they decided to donate to St. Joe’s Cancer Care Unit. Heather LaDuke a spokesperson for St. Joe’s describes the facility, “The comprehensive cancer center offers medical oncology, radiation oncology including brachytherapy for prostate cancer and surgical oncology. We employ breast cancer specialists; we have a complete lung cancer clinic. The center conducts clinical trials and has support staff which includes; social workers, pharmacists, nutritionists and multi-disciplinary clinics where patients receive individualized care from a team of doctors and clinical specialists. A variety of support groups are also offered.”  

For registration information and additional support group information go to or you can e mail Brian Toth at or call him at 1-248-514-4931  

Other than being female, the greatest risk factor for women contracting breast cancer is age. Older women are more likely to get breast cancer. It is much less frequent among younger women. Men also suffer from breast cancer as local resident Roger Grates can confirm. He contracted the disease in the late 90s. Grates had a history of various types of cancer in his family including ovarian and breast cancer but those cases were in female family members. Grates had a problem with fatty tumors growing in various parts of his body. At the time of his diagnosis he had a particular tumor that was bothering him along his belt line. So he made an appointment to have it removed. In the waiting room he started reading some of the literature on breast cancer.  

By reading the information, he realized that he had one of the symptoms and he proceeded to ask his doctor some questions about his condition. He had developed an inverted nipple in recent weeks. After reading the literature he became concerned, so he asked if the doctor could check him and remove the tumors. The doctor did and the tumor from his breast came back positive. Eventually Grates had a mastectomy followed by several rounds of chemotherapy. He followed the chemo with a regimen of Tamoxophen which further reduced his chances of the reoccurrence of cancer. Grates received the majority of his treatment at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He has been in remission for nearly a decade.  

Kris Mikolaizak, who runs Pewter Kingdom, had a bout with breast cancer when she was 37, a young age to be diagnosed with such an illness. She went for a routine pap smear. The doctors noticed something unusual about her results but didn’t draw any conclusions. It was only when she discovered her breast bleeding on several different occasions that she went back for more testing. Her intuition was right. She was suffering from a more aggressive form of cancer than Roger Grates and was treated with surgery, and a heavy dose of chemotherapy as well as Tamoxophen. Fortunately she is in full remission and is expected to be cancer free with continual monitoring.

Brian Toth’s mother, Kathy, has been in remission for nearly 10 years. Her breast cancer was discovered after a routine mammogram and was treated in Saginaw at Covenant Healthcare. At the time she was in her fifties when first diagnosed. Following doctor’s advice she had a lumpectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation, all within a one-year period. Toth says one of the most meaningful things that she’s done in recent years was to walk in the Avon Palmetto 3-Day cancer walks in Detroit and another time in Chicago. Many of the walkers are cancer survivors and they all wear pink. She was very inspired after seeing how many survivors are out there. Toth says if she could offer advice she strongly recommends getting yearly mammograms

It is important to check for lumps on a regular basis. If you feel uncertain at any point in your medical care pursue it. If your intuition tells you that there is something wrong get it checked out until you are satisfied with the answers that you receive. If you are dissatisfied with the medical treatment you’ve received go elsewhere. It could mean the difference between life and death.