Monthly Archives: August 2014

Ken Carey establishes charity after battling cancer

By Linda Grodzki, Correspondent
Published: June 15, 2014

The mission of the Tipsy Turtle Make Life Count Charity is clear: to aid local cancer patients with the resources they so desperately need while fighting this disease.

Ken Carey, 42, of Exeter, co-owner of The Tipsy Turtle restaurants, established the charity in 2004 after his own personal battle with testicular cancer. It was through his own brave journey that he was able to make an amazing difference in the lives of other cancer patients.

“When I was diagnosed in May of 2004, I had a big lump on my neck,” said Ken. “My general physician, Dr. Gerald Gibbons, got me into the General Hospital immediately. Dr. David Greenwald was the oncologist assigned to me. They biopsied it and found out it was testicular cancer; it spread throughout my whole body.”

“As aggressively as it grew, Dr. Greenwald said they could treat it just as aggressively,” continued Ken. “He put it into terms that I could understand. He said that the chemotherapy is like a mixed drink — it’s like a cocktail — you just have to have the right recipe and it should be effective. I then started my treatments, and it was four 21-day cycles.”

While undergoing chemotherapy treatment at Medical Oncology Associates in Kingston, Ken saw first-hand not only the physical and emotional toll that cancer could take on a person, but also the financial hardship involved. Health coverage can only go so far, and many patients are still responsible for daily or weekly co-pays that can reach into the thousands. Additionally, many times anti-nausea medication is not covered by the health care insurance provider, leaving the patient to pay out of pocket for this necessary medication to help alleviate some of the symptoms from treatment. That’s only covering the portion of people even still covered under health insurance, since so many of them are too ill to maintain their job that provided such benefits.

The Tipsy Turtle Make Life Count Charity is completely nonprofit and all proceeds are donated directly to Medical Oncology’s Prescription Assistance Fund, which is an account set up by Dr. David Greenwald and Dr. Bruce Saidman. This account helps provide struggling cancer patients with a financial resource they otherwise would not have. This includes but is not limited to providing medications to those who would otherwise go without, aiding in the payment of costly insurance co-pays and paying for a patient’s insurance all together if they lose their job.

“I can’t say enough about Medical Oncology staff,” said Ken. “From the receptionist to the nurses to the doctors — everyone there is just incredible, and that is really what made me start my charity. The amazing thing about cancer for me is that I now see it from three different perspectives. I saw it as a young kid who lost his mom (Ken’s mother passed away from leukemia at 46 years old). I saw it as a patient, and now I’m seeing it with my father, who now, at age 77, has stage three lung cancer. In all three perspectives of it, it honestly comes down to the doctors and nurses who are taking care of you.”

“When you go to Dr. Greenwald’s office and see what the staff is doing there, it is unbelievable,” continued Ken. “Even though it is an amazing feeling to do what we do to help money-wise with the charity, it’s what they do for the patients that is the real amazing thing.”

The Make Life Count Charity raises funds in many different ways and continues to expand through the years. Currently, the charity has evolved to include T-shirt sales, MLC bracelet sales, annual raffle ticket sales (grand prize $10,000 cash or a 2014 Harley Davidson motorcycle), corporate sponsor donations, an annual golf tournament on Aug. 3, donations from the Mustache Bash and its first ever Craftoberfest for Cancer. Ken’s kind, giving spirit is contagious, and the staff at the Tipsy Turtle restaurant locations (Swoyersville, Jenkins Township, and new, in July, The Tipsy Turtle Airport Pub in Avoca) assists him in countless ways with Make Life Count fundraising activities.

Last year proved to be a prosperous year for the charity, as it raised its most donations, reaching an astonishing $34,000. This brings the cummulative total raised over the past years to $189,000.

“I have a wonderful support system,” stated Ken. “My wife, Kari, has taken on so much to help me with my charity, and she is a big part of helping me with the marketing of it and the fundraising of it. My business partner, Jack Walker, is amazing. I have incredible friends; some of them work for me and have been with me for a long time. Our staff does great. I don’t even have to ask the staff to get involved. They just do it because they know the good that it does. It’s like a big family coming together for a huge cause.”

Ken recalls how his own immediate family came together to support him while he was experiencing his own cancer diagnosis. He credits his sisters, Cathy and Connie and his brother, David, for being there for him throughout his chemotherapy, various doctors’ appointments and work responsibilities.

Today, a decade after his own courageous battle with cancer, Ken is cancer-free. His enthusiastic commitment to the Tipsy Turtle Make Life Count Charity profoundly touches the lives of local men and women who are fighting the disease each day.

“I know that times are tough and money is hard to come by,” said Ken. “People are giving it up for this charity, and I swear that every cancer patient appreciates it.”

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Serving up some help Tipsy Turtle owner has raised nearly $190,000 for charity

January 02. 2014 8:59AM

SWOYERSVILLE — Ken Carey says cancer has made him a better person.
Carey, the 41-year-old co-owner of Tipsy Turtle bar/restaurants in Swoyersville and Jenkins Township, is a cancer survivor. Diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2004 and after undergoing an aggressive treatment program, Carey established a charity — the Tipsy Turtle Make Life Count Charity — that has raised $189,000 in nine years.
“After going through treatment, I think I’ve learned to appreciate life more,” Carey said. “Life is short, so take advantage of what you’re given. Things could always be worse.”
Money raised by the charity goes to the Medical Oncology Prescription Assistance Fund headed by Dr. David Greenwald, Carey’s doctor, at his office on Pierce Street in Kingston.
“The money we raise stays local,” Carey said. “It helps people in this area who need help to pay their medical bills.”

Making a difference
The charity raised $34,000 this year — a record — through its annual golf tournament, raffle tickets and by selling Make Life Count wrist bands and t-shirts.
“Being in the restaurant business, we always are smiling, and we serve people every day in a social setting,” Carey said. “But the people in Dr. Greenwald’s office do the same. They are always positive and smiling, and they help people every day to deal with sickness. They are amazing people.”
The Prescription Assistance Fund provides medications to people who otherwise would go without it, helps pay costly insurance co-pays and has even paid for insurance of patients who lost their jobs.
Greenwald said Carey is “the epitome of a grateful patient.” He said Carey’s efforts have made a significant difference in the lives of many people in the area.
“Ken has paid back 100 times anything we’ve done for him,” Greenwald said. “He has raised a tremendous amount of money that has been so effective in helping a lot of people.”
Carey said the mission of the Make Life Count Charity is clear — to aid local cancer patients with the resources they so desperately need while fighting a deadly disease.

Motivated to help
Carey’s mother, Concetta Carey, died in 1990 after a battle with leukemia. Carey said his mom’s death and later his personal battle with cancer motivated him to help others.
“Each year the charity grows,” he said. “We have such a great support system — friends, family, customers, corporate and business partners.”
Carey, of Exeter, said the raffle tickets sell for $20 each and the top prize offer the winner a Harley Davidson or $10,000 cash. The annual golf tournament is held the first week of August at Sand Springs Golf Club in Drums.
Carey and his partner, Jack Walker, own two Tipsy Turtle restaurants and they are looking to establish a third location. Carey wife, Kari, manages the eateries. The two met after Carey’s cancer diagnosis and Kari has been at her husband’s side since.
“We’re a family-oriented business,” he said. “After what I went through, I just felt I had to do something.”


Prescription Assistance Fund

Medical Oncology Associates formally established the Prescription Assistance Fund in 2001 to assist cancer patients in need to obtain costly prescription drugs and nutritional supplements. Over the past few years, the scope of assistance has broadened to include transportation to and from appointments in and out of town; durable medical equipment; patient medical insurance premiums; and home health treatments. In the aftermath of the September 2011 flood, we donated funds to patients whose homes and businesses had been devastated. The scope of the fund is constantly evolving as needs arise.

Medical Oncology Associates has long recognized the devastating physical, psychological, and financial hardships suffered by many of our patients. The fund was established to help those in need to obtain medications, services, and other items beneficial to their care. We respect the pride, independence, and courage of our patients and their families. We hope that any patient in need will feel comfortable asking for temporary assistance.

For Patients:

How to request assistance: Patients or family members may request assistance from any member of our staff. All requests and responses will be handled confidentially. If you would feel more comfortable requesting assistance over the telephone, please contact our Office Manager, Edie Kozicki at (570) 288-4261.

For the Community:

How to donate: If you would like to donate to the Prescription Assistance Fund, please contact our Special Projects Coordinator, Carol Demko. Donations may be made in memory or in honor of a loved one; in “lieu of flowers” for memorial services; as a “thank you” gift for special events, such as bridal showers; or for any reason you desire. Donations are tax-deductible.

Fundraisers: If you would like to conduct a student project or a community project or event to benefit the Prescription Assistance Fund, please contact our Special Projects Coordinator, Carol Demko.

Volunteers: If you would like to volunteer to assist with one of our fundraisers for the Prescription Assistance Fund, please contact our Special Projects Coordinator, Carol Demko. Volunteers are needed to create and distribute fliers; to sell raffle tickets during events; to decorate for upcoming events; etc.


Tipsy Turtle Make Life Count Charity’s 2013 Fundraiser:

We extend a huge “Thank You!” to the Tipsy Turtle Make Life Count Charity for its generous contribution to the Medical Oncology Associates Prescription Assistance Fund . The Make Life Count Charity’s 2013 Fundraiser raised an amazing grand total of $34,000 for the Medical Oncology Associates Prescription Assistance Fund. Pictured above are Ken Carey, proprietor of the Tipsy Turtle Pubs in Jenkins Township and Swoyersville, in green; and David and Carol Greenwald of Medical Oncology Associates.

Ken Carey founded the Make Life Count Charity in 2004. The Make Life Count Charity has been the largest benefactor of the Medical Oncology Prescription Assistance Fund, donating over $150,000 to the fund since the charity’s inception. We, as well as our patients, cannot thank Ken enough for his continued support over the years.

Ken is a great friend of Medical Oncology Associates. We encourage you to visit the Tipsy Turtle’s website at for more information about the pub as well as the Make Life Count Charity.

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Tipsy Turtle owners use creativity to bring in customers


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