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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

George Root interviews Lockport Express Coach Frank Vecchio following
an Express home game in 2015. Vecchio and several others are putting
together a fundraiser for Root, who found out in late December that he has
kidney cancer. (ENP FILE PHOTO)
In late December, ENP's own George N. Root III was diagnosed with kidney cancer. The 48-year-old writer and radio personality decided immediately that if it was between the cancer and him, he'd win -- even if the doctors told him that the odds were not in his favor.

Jan. 11, Root had his kidney removed -- and most of the cancer with it. His prognosis improved significantly. But some cancer remains. And George will soon begin chemotherapy in hopes of beating it down.

The doctors' visits, recovery time and time spent worrying has kept him from being able to work as much as he usually would. Mounting medical bills added to that, creating a financial burden that he simply cannot handle without help.

As such, a team of his friends, including those close to the Lockport Express, have planned a Valentine's Day fundraiser for the Class of 1985 LHS graduate at Cornerstone Community Federal Credit Union Arena. The fundraiser includes a pair of hockey games, basket raffles, 50/50 and more.

The Feb. 14 Lockport Express' 1 p.m. home game against the Wilkes Barre Miners will be played in Root's honor, as will a 4 p.m. Lockport Hockey Alumni game. Tickets to the pair of games are $20 per person or $40 for a family of four. All proceeds will be donated to Root to help pay some of his medical costs.

Howie Balaban, left, and George Root call a home 
Lockport Express game. 
The Lockport Express will auction off player-worn jerseys during the event, and baskets are being sought for the basket raffle. Fundraiser team members, including Lockport Express Owner Steve Bueme, Lockport Express Coach Frank Vecchio, Howell Motors Ford Owner Mike Landers, Lockport City Court Judge Bill Watson, Kim Milani of Sub Delicious, Cornerstone Arena Board Member Tate Pitrello, ENP/ENR Contributor Craig Bacon, and ENP Co-Publishers Heather Grimmer and Scott Leffler will be seeking donations from area businesses.

Businesses and individuals that have signed on for donations include ART247, Capelli Salon, Confer Plastics, DeFlippo's Restaurant, East Niagara Post, Family Video, Howell Motors and the Landers family, Adam Hudson, Mills Jewelers, the Penalty Box, Janet Pitrello, Pulp 716, Riviera Theatre, Schoolhouse Wellness Center, Sub Delicious, Transit Drive-In Theatre, Tom's Diner, and Windsor Village.

Additionally, a GoFundMe page has been created for those who wish to donate but cannot attend the fundraiser. The page,, had a $50 donation from Milani before having even been made public. The listed goal is $5,000.

"To say that George is a friend to Lockport would be a massive understatement of the word 'friend,' " according to the GoFundMe page. "He pushed for the betterment of the city and region through a weekly column in the Union-Sun & Journal for years before joining East Niagara Post as a contributor. He adds his wisdom and sense of humor to East Niagara Radio hockey broadcasts as well as the weekly radio show, 'Shenanigans,' which exists primarily due to George's insistence that the world needs more of him."

Outside of Lockport, Root is well-known to the NA3EHL hockey community as a broadcaster of Lockport Express games and the director/editor of the weekly "Catching Up with the Lockport Express" YouTube series done for East Niagara Post.

All funds raised will help to defray Root's hospital and doctors' bills. On the off chance that more money is raised than is needed, they will be used at George's discretion. The guy could probably use a vacation.


Check out East Niagara Post videos on YouTube, Vine and Periscope.


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