Zach Bogosian figures he saw his grandmother, Armen, just about every day from the time he was born until he left his hometown of Massena, N.Y. at age 14. She was a principal influence in his life, imprinting kindness and a love of family on the Buffalo Sabres defenseman.
Bogosian was also influenced by the way his grandmother fought after being diagnosed with Lymphoma, a type of cancer that develops in the immune system, as well as by the treatment that allowed her to live for several years afterward.
Armen Bogosian passed away in May 2013 at 82 years old. Zach and his wife, Bianca, started The BOGO Bunch Foundation in her memory two years later. Its mission: "to create a family atmosphere in the lives of those directly and indirectly affected by cancer."
"It gives you a perspective of how hard these people are fighting for their lives and what they go through on a daily basis," Bogosian said. "I saw that side of things, so I guess that kind of opened my eyes to what they go through on a daily basis.
"I got some years that maybe I would have never experienced with her due to treatment."
The BOGO Bunch has raised over $100,000 toward Roswell Park Comprehensive Care Center over the past two years through charitable events organized by Zach and Bianca in partnership with the Sabres Foundation. Its next event, Casino for a Cause, will be held at Town Ballroom on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m.
Video: Casino For A Cause
It will be the foundation's second Casino for a Cause event, with the first having been held in January 2017. The 1920s themed event will feature Sabres players dealing cards and working gaming tables, live music, an open bar and appetizers provided by local restaurants. Admission is 21 and over.
Tickets are available here.
The first Casino for a Cause raised more than $50,000 toward Roswell Park and the Buffalo Wellness Center's Juicer Fund. Last year, The BOGO Bunch organized a "Kancer Jam" Kan Jam tournament held at KeyBank Center.
Video: Bogosians donate to charity
"We're proud of that and we're hoping to keep that growing," Bogosian said. "I wouldn't say I have a goal in mind, but anything's better than zero. I'm just trying to give back, do what we can with the platform we have and use that for money and awareness.
"It's been a very humbling experience, going through that side of things. I think as a hockey player you're programmed just for hockey, hockey, hockey. It's nice just to step away from that and help people out that are going through something that's much bigger than hockey, much bigger than a lot of things that we could ever imagine. It's been fun."