Fernando's holds benefit today for breast cancer research

Pleasanton fundraiser follows event yesterday at Hopyard Grill for Avon Foundation

A downtown Pleasanton restaurant is sponsoring a fundraiser today to benefit breast cancer research.

For the past three years, Paul Strohl and Frank New have sponsored a dinner at Fernando's Mexican Restaurant, 348 St. Mary St., with drawings and split proceeds between the restaurant and the merchants who donated prizes.

However the benefit changed when Strohl and his wife, Denise Rhys, had a close friend diagnosed with breast cancer recently, after Rhys' sister died from the disease 20 years ago.

Today, after a round of golf at the Pleasanton Fairways Golf Course, everyone will meet as usual at Fernando's at 5 p.m. for the annual barbecue and drawings. But this year, 100 percent of the proceeds will go toward the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

About 20 merchants have donated prizes. Cost is $20. Drawing tickets are four for $20. The event is open to the public.

The benefit follows one yesterday at the Hopyard Alehouse & Grill that also raised funds for the Avon Foundation and the American Cancer Society.

Following the death of Angie Okumura, who died of breast cancer in March less than a year after her diagnosis, Samantha and her dad have directed their grief by becoming active in raising funds for breast cancer research. Last weekend, they walked 40 miles for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

For Saturday's benefit, organized by Samantha, a student at UC Santa Cruz, the Hopyard Grill donated 20 percent of all proceeds from meals and drinks served between the hours of 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. There also was a silent auction of donated items.

Brittany Hersh contributed to this story.

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