LEESBURG — Between the live auction, silent auction and multiple other fundraising opportunities at the Black and White Dinner held Saturday evening, June 8, at the Tippecanoe Lake Country Club, the Cancer Care Fund of Kosciusko County was able to raise over $73,000 to assist local cancer patients throughout the county.
While the Cancer Care Fund of Kosciusko County dinner and auction has typically taken place in late August or September, this year the committee took a vote and decided to try a new date at the beginning of the summer. While there were fewer attendees than in past years, then generosity of those in attendance was stirring.
The evening started with hors d’oeuvres including stuffed mushrooms, bacon-wrapped chestnuts and wontons that servers brought around to attendees as they mingled and began placing bids on the silent auction items. Cheese, cracker, duck and olive trays were also available thanks to Maple Leaf Farms. Clint Olson provided musical entertainment in the lobby as guests arrived.
Promptly at 7:15 p.m. the announcement was made for all in attendance to make their way outside for the memorial butterfly release. Thanks to all the donations for this event, every person in attendance was able to release at least one butterfly. Prior to the release, Ron Smock gave a touching speech about remembering those loved ones who have lost their battles with cancer.
Following an invocation by Bill McCully, a salad and delicious dinner of filet mignon, skewered shrimp, asparagus and red potatoes was served. As everyone began to finish their meals, they were given one last chance to place their bids on the silent auction items.
The 32 items in the silent auction ranged from a Polywood Adirondack chair, wood cabinet, a thunder run ride on Lake Wawasee, goodie bags, jewelry, nostalgic flotilla shirts, stays at Oakwood and Brook Pointe Inn, two Colts versus Bears pre-season game tickets and a large variety of gift cards from local restaurants and businesses. Once the bidding was closed on the silent auction, the keynote speaker of the evening was introduced.
Rich Haddad, CEO of the K21Health Foundation which administers the assistance to cancer patients in need with money raised from the Cancer Care Fund, discussed his personal experiences with cancer before sharing a short video.
The first memory he shared was losing his father to cancer. “He was 58 years old,” Haddad recalled. “I thought that was so old. Now I’m about to turn 55 and that’s not old at all.” He also recalled the phone call he received from his wife when she first discovered she had breast cancer. His wife, he enthusiastically continued, is now cancer free.
When it comes to the Cancer Care Fund, he explained that the fund is so important not only to those diagnosed with cancer but also their caregivers and loved ones. Thanks to this fund there are “so many ways their life can keep going forward as they undergo treatment,” Haddad explained. In the short video that followed, YMCA officials involved with the LIVESTRONG program and recipients of funds raised by CCF shared their emotional stories and how important fundraising events, such as the dinner and auction, are to those who have to rely on those funds as they undergo cancer treatment.
Brian Wuthrich, auctioneer, then kicked off the much anticipated live auction. There were 11 items total with items such as the pier benches, paddleboard with paddles, large succulent planter, golf cart and private cooking class at Westmain Kitchen creating friendly bidding wars among attendees.
Both before and after the live auction, Wuthrich called out paddle raises for monthly expenses for patient which were split into four levels. Level one was $50 for a gas card, insurance or medical needs or to go toward LIVESTRONG at the YMCA. Level two was $125 to sponsor a patient’s monthly utilities. Level three sponsored a patient’s car payment, gas card or lodging for $300. Level four sponsored a patient’s rent or mortgage for $500. Many attendees raised their paddles both before and after the live auction and for multiple levels.
The evening concluded with each of the approximately 12 centerpieces being offered first come, first serve for $25 each.
The CCF will be holding more fundraising opportunities such as the Shot in the Dark Glow Golf event on Friday, July 26, the Steve Dodds charity golf fundraiser on Sept. 6, and the Freaky 5K Run and Walk on Oct. 26.