Rolling the Dice, Beating the Odds: Batavia Bunco for Breast Cancer

BuncobreastlogoMy friend (and coincidently hair dresser) Mike Burke had an idea back in 2004.  As you do when you sit in the chair at your hair dresser’s, you talk and you listen, but this one idea perked up my ears nine years ago because of the passion with which it was presented. Mike (actually Michelle, but nobody calls here that) was part of a Women’s Circle at Bethany Lutheran Church in Batavia, IL. Each circle adopted a cause or a project. Mike’s group got thinking and the idea turned into a big idea, launching the first Batavia Bunco for Breast Cancer in 2004.

Coincidently, I was there in Bethany’s fellowship hall as they birthed this new idea to raise funds for the Delnor Breast Center and Breast Cancer Research Center. I rolled the dice with a room full of ladies and had an evening of great fun, even going home with one of the silent auction baskets. Little did I know that seven years later I would be affected by Breast Cancer and would wear the pink fleece socks with the breast cancer ribbon embroidered on them (that was in the basket I purchased) into surgery for my mastectomy. And nine years later Breast Cancer MyStory would be a recipient of proceeds from the 2012 event. Funny how the world turns.

Bunco photoFast forward – it’s March 8, 2013 and I meet up with organizers Dawn Gallucci and Mike Burke to be presented with a check for $250 for Breast Cancer MyStory.  Their group holds the annual Bunco event to benefit local breast cancer causes and I am humbled they chose to present a check representing a portion of their proceeds. Their event grew out of Bethany’s fellowship hall after two years and relocated to a bigger venue with their best year hosting 250 dice throwers. During our coffee I learned their group has raised nearly $50,000 since 2004 to benefit breast cancer education and services. Their mission is “To raise awareness and funds to help local women and men affected by breast cancer.” Kudos to the circle of women at Bethany who had the seed of an idea to make a difference and to Dawn, Mike, Sara and Hilary who keep the momentum rolling, along with the dice.

So what exactly it Bunco?  If you have not played, it is a dice game (requiring no math skills) where four players sit at each table, rotating up or down tables depending on if you win or lose the round. You don’t have to know how to play to go to Batavia Bunco for Breast Cancer. Rules are on the scoresheets and they do a little tutorial prior to the first roll. Organizer and co-founder, Mike Burke comments, “Batavia Bunco is a fun evening to bring your friends and family of any age. The youngest player last year was twelve and the oldest was eighty-six.”

How is money raised?  Funds are raised through ticket sales and a silent auction at the event. All proceeds are donated after each Bunco party to breast cancer non-profits that align with Batavia Bunco’s mission.  The date for the 2013 event is set for October 4 at a location to be determined.  Tickets are $30 presale and $35 at the event and may be purchased online at, where you can also learn more about the event and view photos to see all the fun you’ve been missing.  Facebookers can “like” them at Bunco for Breast Cancer and you can email their group at with questions. Do you have a group (or son or daughter) that needs to earn service hours? Contact Dawn at the email above to inquire about volunteering at the event (set-up, during the event and clean-up).

So, little seeds do sprout into big ideas and Batavia is blessed to have a group of ladies who keep on rolling and planning for the next year.  If you’d like to join them as a volunteer or donate an item or basket for this year’s event, send an email to It’s truly a ‘fun’raiser and night of affirmation for all the hard work by a dedicated group of ladies making a difference to area women and men with breast cancer.


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