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Wendy Dio Talks About A Treasured Moment With RONNIE JAMES DIO, Bowling For Ronnie, And The Importance Of Cancer Research

In just two days, the Bowling For Ronnie celebrity event will embark on its fourth annual edition, once again raising money and awareness for a very serious cause. Lead by Wendy Dio, wife of the late and great Ronnie James Dio, she continues to push forward in charitable efforts in every way she can with her events where 100% of proceeds go towards the Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund a big supporter of cancer research, prevention, and awareness.

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With only days away from the big event, I had a quick chat with Wendy to find out more about this year's big bowling event, a cherished moment she shared with Dio, how he'd feel about her cancer fund work if he were still with us, and much more!

Frank Godla: Wendy, thanks so much for talking with me today. We're less than a week away from the fourth annual Bowl for Ronnie event, and I'm sure you have a lot going on. Given that it's now the fourth annual, does it get any easier to put these events on year after year?

Wendy Dio: The bowling does because it's been very successful and it sells out every year. And we have so many celebrities that gives their time and their talent to us, and it's an amazing event where we have a lot of fun with the celebrities. In fact, there's an auction up right now to bowl on the celebrity lane with Eddie Trunk and all of his celebrities, which does very well. We have awards we give out. We've raised a lot of money for cancer research and education, which is what it's all about, but we have fun at the same time.

The Ride for Ronnie as much harder because, we have to deal with the elements as well because it's outside, so we never know if it's going to rain, or the weather is going to be too hot or what's going to be. And of course, we have bands playing and though we always have to wait for their availability to see if they're available or not as everybody's donating their time and talent. But the bowling is a fantastic event, and we're really looking forward to it.

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Eddie Trunk will be out there, Tom Morello will be there again who always supports us, brings his own bowling ball. Guys from Tool, guys from Korn…it goes on and on and on. As I said, it's a real lot of fun, and they should buy their tickets early because last year we had to turn away quite a few people, which was very upsetting.

Frank Godla: It's a really big undertaking what you're doing, all in the name of a great cause. What is something that you learned about yourself along the way in doing this?

Wendy Dio: Gosh, I don't know. It's very rewarding. I'm buying a place in heaven (laughs). It's very rewarding, and I like to keep all his music and his legacy alive and that's my goal for everything. What I've learned is how gracious the musicians are, how wonderful Ronnie's fans are. Ronnie passed almost nine years ago, and there's still two and a half million fans on our Facebook. I knew he was a special person, but I realized what a very, very special person he was to everyone.

Frank Godla: Oh, absolutely. Such a loved man and musician, and we love that you're keeping his legacy alive. I always wanted to know, what was a moment that maybe he cherished with you? Was there ever like a high point of his career that stands out that he shared with you?

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Wendy Dio: Yes, I think with Holy Diver, when we launched his own band, we all worked so hard on that, when nobody knew whether it was going to happen or not. And, him coming out of Rainbow and Black Sabbath and venturing on his own to the unknown, we had no idea. But I think the first time we saw the audience, and I saw all those kids there, it was like an amazing moment to see everyone there for Ronnie, and him up on stage and the band playing. That was amazing.

Frank Godla: That's incredible. And for those who don't know out there, Bowl for Ronnie is a bowling tournament held each year, where 100% of the proceeds go towards the Ronnie James Dio Stand up and Shout Cancer Foundation. Wendy, is there anything you would like the world to know about cancer and the research that you support?

Wendy Dio: Absolutely. Early detection saves lives. It's very, very important to know that early detection saves lives. We concentrate mostly on men's cancers, on colon cancer, gastric cancers, pancreatic cancers. A lot of research is not done on these cancers, and men do not like to go get checked because of the way they check them. But, we are working with Dr Wong at UCLA who is coming up with a saliva test so that you could go to the doctor and instead of having the usual way of testing, it would just swab in your mouth and it sends away.

And it would be a test that would detect cancer at its earliest stage of one of those cancers, pancreatic or prostrate, or pancreatic cancer or colon cancer. And I think that's very, very important. Very important for men to get checked. They should get checked whether they do it for themselves, or for their wife, or their girlfriend, or their mother or their sister. But do it for somebody just get checked because early detection does save lives.

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Frank Godla: It might be a lesser known fact, but I know that Ronnie was a very charitable person himself.

Wendy Dio: Yes he was.

Frank Godla: I know the both of you would also rescue animals and such. So I know helping those in need was in his heart as it is yours.

Wendy Dio: Absolutely.

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Frank Godla: If he were here today, what do you think he would say about these events that you do, this incredible effort that you do to help those in need around the world?

Wendy Dio: Well, I think he would be very, very humbled by my board. My board works so hard, all volunteers. I have 14 board members, they were all good friends of Ronnie, some of them knowing him over 30 years. And, I couldn't do this by myself and the board is amazing, they've worked so hard all year. They work on these events and putting other things together that we do, and I think that he would be very humbled by that.

Frank Godla: That's great. How can folks get involved with the Bowl for Ronnie event, and the Ronnie Cancer Foundation?

Wendy Dio: You go to the and you can look up our events, you can donate there, you can do a lot of things there. You can see our mission statement, you can see what we've done, what we're doing with the research with Dr. Wong. And, we've raised over almost three million dollars so far and we've given money to MD Anderson in Houston where Ronnie was treated. We've given money to TJ Martell, we've given money to Vanderbilt in Nashville, and now we're concentrating on this test for cancer, which we hope will lead to a cure because as I said, early detection saves lives.

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Ronnie, had what he thought it was indigestion like seven years before he passed away, and I had taken him to a specialist who tested his heart, tested things, his lungs, whatever, and then said oh, I think it's just indigestion or you maybe have a hernia, just take some Tums or something. Had I known what I know now about cancer, I would have insisted that he had a colonoscopy at that time to check out things. But, because by the time we had a blood test for it, which was just a regular doctor that gave him a blood test, Dr. Sandeep Kapor who is now on my board, and actually as a co-founder with me on the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund. And he gave him a blood test, this is just before he was diagnosed with it, but by that time it was already stage four.

That's why I cannot stress the fact more than early detection saves lives. Please, please people go out and get checked.

Frank Godla: The Bowl for Ronnie event happens this Thursday, October 25th at Pins Bowling Center in Studio City, California. Wendy, keep up the good fight. Thank you so much for your words.

Wendy Dio: Oh, thank you for your support, we couldn't do it without you guys really.

Wendy Dio Talks About A Treasured Moment With RONNIE JAMES DIO, Bowling For Ronnie, And The Importance Of Cancer Research

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