If bartender-turned-advocate Rich Canci took a shot every time he beat cancer, he’d be wasted by now.
It’s been almost a year since SILive caught up with the now six-time cancer survivor from Annadale. Lately, the 25-year-old humanitarian is keeping himself busy raising money to cover the holistic care costs of cancer patients — one T-shirt and beer at a time.
The Five Time Foundation, a non-profit Canci founded, aims to financially help patients who wish to go the “natural” route to recover. The foundation has accumulated more 3,000 followers on Instagram in its two-year existence — and now Canci plans to raise the money by holding local nightlife events.
THE LATEST ON RICH CANCI
Hours before Canci’s interview with SILive, he spoke to students at his alma mater, Tottenville High School, about his journey through relapse and recovery.
“It was really cool,” Canci says. “I was kind of a rebel growing up so I didn’t py attention in school all that much but I was surprised. A lot of these kids actually listen and soak it all in.”
The Five Time Foundation was named before Canci’s sixth battle with cancer.
This Staten Island survivor was diagnosed with cancer when he was 8. It was osteosarcoma, a bone cancer and he had to have part of his leg amputated. The cancer recurred at ages 11, 14, 21 and 22, resulting in more surgeries and chemotherapy.
In July 2016, Canci got sick again and refused chemotherapy. He spent the summer eating clean, working with an herbalist and taking vitamins. Now, he says he’s as clean as a whistle.
Canci made a name for himself on social media, posting random moments of his life through Instagram using #CanciClips. His online presence helped him solidify the groundwork of his foundation and build a following.
“I think, in a way, [social media] is therapeutic to me,” says Canci. “I’ve never really opened up to anybody about what I’ve gone through. A lot of people look for attention through social media, but I’m not looking for sympathy.”
HOW TO DRINK AND DONATE
The second annual “5X Fest,” hosted by Five Time Foundation, takes over Liberty Tavern in West Brighton this Saturday, Jan. 14. With a donation at the door, Staten Islanders can hit the bar to “party for a good cause.”
To the beats of Vinny Cee and Nicky Rizz, Liberty Tavern will have two bar stands, shot girls working the floor and plenty of “F*** Cancer” merchandise to sell, including hats and shirts.
“It’s gonna be a really fun night,” Canci says. “I’m doing the event to support some of my friends that are sick, while still having a good time.”
If you’re used to Canci’s over-the-top, provocative posts, you might have missed this one. The local humanitarian shared an emotional moment while driving his car, preparing for “5X Fest.”
“I’m not doin’ this for a sob story, or attention,” Canci says in a typically candid #CanciClip. “But I’m just doing this to show you guys what the f*** is up and what it’s like and why I do what I do.”
Canci continues, “So, it’s all fun and games and partying and having fun but in the background, I’m hearing people’s stories on how their sick and they need help. Kids that I was being treated with and in the hospital with are still in the hospital while I’m okay. So, even if you don’t agree with me, or how I raise the money… just help out and share. Do it for them.”