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BY: Tiffany Monde, Tonawanda Source | November 01, 2012

TONAWANDA - This past September Jim Harszlak lost his battle with colon cancer. An active member of the community and constantly looking for ways to help others, his drive and passion was not faltered during his battle with cancer. While going through chemotherapy Jim continued to participate in many local causes including youth groups, their church and Bethesda Tabernacle Vacation Bible School just to name a few.

“He didn’t make very much money, but was always a giving person with not a lot of means,” said Susan Holler-Harszlak, Halszlak’s widow.

In February 2012, the ‘Harzfest’ fund-raiser was held to help Jim and his wife deal with the medical bills from his treatments, and travel over two years to the Cancer Treatment Center of America, located in Illinois.

Over 650 people attended the event, which was deemed a success. On Feb. 16, 2013 the American Legion will host second annual ‘Harzfest,’ will benefit the Jim Harszlak Foundation, GHH Memorial Fund and the Tonawanda Post 264 American Legion.

“After that happened Jim said maybe next year we can do this for other people,” said Holler.

When Harszlak passed his family was looking for a place to send memorial donations, instead they came up with the concept for the Jim Harszlak Foundation, sponsored by the Tonawanda’s Post 264 American Legion.

The foundation, in the short time it has been taking donations, has already sent money to a 7-year-old boy, a student at Mullen Elementary, who was diagnosed with Lymphoblastic Leukemia. They have also helped a native Tonawanda woman Carol Stacharczyk who just had breast cancer surgery.

“I want to carry on his memory by continuing to do what we had been,” said Holler. “He just kept fighting he and always inspired others.”

The board will be meeting in November to find ways to help some families for the holidays and also to set up a meeting for the Harzfest event.

At this time they are also looking to start a scholarship at his Alma mater Tonawanda High school.

If you would like to volunteer your time, donate food or baskets for the Harzfest please email: suem47@hotmail.com, send message on Facebook to Susan Holler-Harszlak or post on the Jim Harszlak Foundation page on Face Book. Donations of cash and checks can be sent to: Jim Harszlak Foundation, 2452 Colvin Blvd, Tonawanda, NY 14150.

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