About Us

How we got started…

It’s funny how tragedy has the ability to bring us closer together and inspire us to do great things.  Co-founders Tony Pasco and Brian Sheskey found their inspiration in the efforts of their employer, who has been actively involved with the Leukemia and Lymphoma society for years.

From bake sales to dressing casual for a small donation, they had raised thousands of dollars over the years. Encouraged by friends and family members, they aimed for something bigger, something exciting that could bring hundreds of people together to raise money for cancer research.

Pasco started by hosting hog roasts called “Pasco Fiasco,” and all the money raised was to pay for the pigs and the kegs of beer. He thought instead of throwing a party for a good time, lets throw a party to raise money for cancer research.  So he reached out to Sheskey, who had years of fundraising experience and together they came up with the idea for Rockin’ Out Cancer.

Their inspiration came from two different stories, a story of hope and a story of tragedy. Both men believe that cancer has taken too much from all of us and we need to do our part to stop it.

Tony's Story

Tony PascoMost holidays shared with families are happy memories. But, Easter 2010, certainly, is one my family will never forget. My step-father had passed away just a couple of months earlier. So, my brother and I were helping to move my mother into a new apartment.

As the two of us were riding along in the U-HAUL, my brother proceeded to tell me he had Gingivitis, and “it was just kicking his butt.” He said the doctor said it was from stress. Of course, just doing what brothers do, I said, “What are you stressed out about; you can’t find your tooth brush?” We laughed. We spent the day together moving my mom, working hard, and enjoying each others company as we truthfully didn’t do often. We both had busy personal lives, work, obligations—all the excuses, you know? The Saturday before Easter my brother got very ill. He was taken to the hospital on Easter Sunday, and my brother died on Monday night, April 5th! Although we weren’t aware, at the young age of 41, my brother was full of Leukemia. 

Because cancer has affected my life so deeply, I wanted to give back and do my part to make a difference. In the late 1990s into early 2000, I used to throw a party each year called “Pasco Fiasco.” It was just for fun and any monies earned went to cover the cost of the party. I have so many great memories from those parties. After my brother died, my employer became involved in several fundraisers for different charities, and I decided to get involved. My wheels went into motion, and I thought: Why don’t I do something I know how to do, enjoy doing, and make it count?

I reached back to my roots and out came Rockin’ Out Cancer! Rockin’Out Cancer is an opportunity to bring people together to celebrate the lives of those who have lived and those who have died from cancer. I truly enjoy seeing people getting together and having a good time, but now we are making a difference. Just about everyone has been touched by cancer in some way—a friend, relative, spouse. So, all of us need to do our part in the fight to win the battle of cancer.
— Tony Pasco

Brian's Story

Brian SheskeyBrian’s motivation came from Ryan Parker; a good friend who has beat the odds more than once.  Here is Ryan’s story told through his eyes…

It is unlikely that anyone is equipped to handle the rigor of cancer alone and I was no different.  The effects of chemotherapy, radiation, and a stem-cell transplant tested my physical and mental strength.  Despite my longstanding self-reliance, defeating cancer required the help of others.  I relied on doctors and nurses for medical advice; family and friends for caretaking; and patients and survivors for inspiration.  Their support and guidance enabled me to persevere through the months and years and now I am in remission.

I was diagnosed with cancer in 2005, while attending Indiana University and playing baseball for the Hoosiers.  An abnormal swelling in my neck prompted me to seek advice from my trainer and medical staff.  Results came back negative when I was tested for mono, tuberculosis, and cat scratch fever but an ensuing biopsy revealed that I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer that affects the blood and immune system.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a highly treatable disease and I began chemotherapy immediately.  I managed to continue playing baseball during my treatment but I noticed a new growth underneath my arm.  Another biopsy revealed that my disease had spread and required me to undergo further and more intense treatment.

Since my body rejected the standard treatment, my regimen extended to include an autologous stem-cell transplant and radiation.  I spent months in the hospital and weekly follow-up visits to a radiation clinic.  My disease briefly subsided but reappeared in 2008, when my yearly scans showed a re-growth of tumors.

It came down to what felt like my last hope: a donor stem-cell transplant.  Thankfully, I was able to find a “match” and doctors were able to perform the transplant.  The physical and mental battle I had to endure seemed unbearable, especially when I was informed that I had a 35 percent chance of survival because of the aggressive nature of my cancer.  But I kept hope, knowing that the general statistics didn’t account for my perseverance.  Oftentimes I would get brutally sick after extreme chemotherapy treatment, including a black-out while suffering atrial fibrillation.  Even with the set-backs, I was determined to overcome my disease and approached my regimen with a positive attitude.  I knew that was the best way to handle the unfortunate circumstances and so did my support staff.

I don’t have enough space to list all acts of kindness and inspiration that I experienced, but the Cancer Community played an integral role in my current state of remission.  These interactions were truly rewarding and certainly in various ways life-changing.  But the most gratifying experience is seeing my friends and family take collective action to fight against cancer.

My advice to those affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly, is to get involved.  We all understand the importance of financial support but I would also encourage contribution to larger efforts and communication with current patients.  This website can help identify perfect opportunities for you to make a difference.  And if you know someone who is battling cancer…reach out to them!  Don’t be afraid or feel pressure to “say the right thing.”  We just want to know you care and that you are there for us no matter what!

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